Zero-emission construction sites

Building and infrastructure construction works conventionally use diesel-fuelled heavy machinery (NRMM). To achieve climate neutrality by reducing carbon emissions - as well as to reap benefits of reduced local air pollution (NOx, SOx, PM), less noise and nuisance - public buyers are demanding emission-free construction machinery on municipal building and infrastructure sites. Though small electric machines are more and more common, large emission-free NRMM like excavators are still scarce. The working group will exchange on pilots and jointly aggregate demand to accelerate the transition to zero-emission construction sites.

Focus of the Working Group

  • Low-/ Zero-emission construction sites

  • Use of emission-free construction machinery for public works

Latest activities

Start of Barcelona pilot

  21 June 2022

On 21 June, Barcelona started its pilot with electrical machinery in construction works in the city. The aim of the pilot is to assess the sound pollution and GHG emissions generated by electric machinery in comparison to those generated by diesel engines. National and local press in Spain has reported on the pilot. See for example this report in El Pais.  

In-Person Market Dialogue in Oslo

  01 December 2021

On 1 December, the working group participants came together in person for the first time to exchange and meet the market to explore the potential for innovative solutions in the field of zero-emission contruction sites. Read about the event here.

C40 Webinar - Zero Emission Construction Machinery

  7 October 2021 - 5-6 pm CET

This webinar presented initiatives from around the world reducing emissions from construction machinery featuring speakers from London, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Turner Construction Company and ICLEI/Big Buyers for Climate and Environment.

Past activities in this working group.



A report on key takeaways from the collaboration between the cities involved in the working group

Download the report



A commitment document by public buyers to leverage procurement as a tool to promote sustainable development

Download the Joint Statement of Demand


Credits: ClimaOslo

New pedestrian street brings new life to Oslo city centre

We are particularly proud of two achievements with Olav Vs gate. One is that we have developed a new pedestrian street in the centre of Oslo. The other is that we have achieved this almost without emissions,” explains Karin Dalberg, Project Manager at the Agency for Urban Environment.

The City of Oslo has a clearly defined climate strategy which states that by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions shall be down by 95 percent compared to 2009 levels. To achieve this goal, there are specific targets for emission reduction. By 2025, all construction sites on behalf of the municipality shall be emission-free. The upgrade in Olav Vs gate has been a pilot project for zero emission site operation, and is an important step towards the transition which must come to the contruction industry.


Credits: ClimaOslo

Many new electric excavators expected next year

Next year, probably 15 percent of new excavators in Norway will be electric. Behind it are brave players who drive development forward. During an in-person market dialogue in Oslo, Big Buyers participants met various market actors to discuss innovative solutions to tackle emissions from construction works. Read the full article by the Oslo Climate Agency.


Kaitlyn Dietz, Officer Circular Economy and Sustainable Construction, ICLEI Europe - speaking on behalf of the Working Group about the value of the joint demand for zero-emission construction sites



This factsheet by Belona Foundation provides an overview of the biggest advantages of zero-emission machinery compared to conventional diesel machinery and gives practical adivice on how to make the shift towards electric machinery happen.


Objectives of the working group

  • Exchange experiences  and best practice (policy/ strategy and practical implementation)

  • Share market intelligence and engage in joint market dialogues

  • Jointly develop and implement procurement approaches (procedure, minimum requirements, award criteria) for low- and zero-emission public construction sites

  • Exchange ideas on contract performance and emissions monitoring during construction (what data to collect, how, when - establishing baseline and calculating emissions reduction)

  • Explore and strengthen solutions for reliable on-site energy supply

  • Develop and communicate  ZEMCONS value-added for others (market and agency level - e.g. what industrial transition/ transformation is taking place, why suppliers should join the transition)

  • Scale-up zero-emission construction sites from pilots to standard practice, by mainstreaming of emission-free with wider institutional and industry green transition

Added Value

  • Aligned demands for a transition to zero-emission construction across public buyers, to accelerate industry innovation

  • Proven feasibility and documented socio-environmental and economic impact of zero-emission construction machinery and sites

  • Increased visibility of the importance of construction site emissions, and of the potential actions available to buyers to address them









Danish Building & Properties Agency



Who is involved?



Bellona Foundation

Contact us

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability

Kaitlyn Dietz,


Anja de Cunto,






Neukolln (Berlin)

Brussels Mobility



Andalusian Housing Agency

C40 Clean Construction Programme