Embodied Carbon Emissions - 7 ways to address them

Sustainability Dec 15, 2020

Green construction activity continues to grow across the globe with clients demanding more sustainable building options and governments implementing environmental regulations. But how easy is it to adopt green construction?

Terms like “Smart Cities”, “Green Cities” and “Internet of Things” are being commonly used nowadays and as buildings integrate more advanced technology, the demand for improved green construction methods will accelerate. But let’s make a pause here. These terms mostly refer to buildings after their construction has been completed. What is happening before or during the construction process?

Operational Vs Upfront Carbon Emissions

Let’s look at some numbers. Building and Construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. That number is split into “operational emissions” referring to the energy used to heat, cool and light buildings accounting for 28%. The remaining 11% comes from “embodied carbon emissions”. These are the carbon emissions released before the building or infrastructure begins to be used, sometimes called upfront carbon. As the world’s population approaches 10 billion, the global building stock is expected to double in size and it’s predicted that upfront carbon will be responsible for half of the entire carbon footprint of new construction between now and 2060.

Addressing upfront carbon is, therefore, a necessity. But where should we start?

Everything starts with adopting a carbon-free mentality. Every person in the team should understand the importance of making this change and be committed to it, no matter their position and their role on the project. Change involves getting out of your comfort zone. It requires perceiving, thinking and doing things differently, so the whole team needs to be sharing the same goal in order to succeed.

New technologies are coming up, new materials and methodologies. Educating yourself and your team is crucial in order to make the right decisions. What is working for others might not be the best solution for you, so always scale it back to your business and projects.

Set goals. In theory, everything looks easier or scarier, it depends. By setting goals and a clear timeline you will get one step closer to your achievement.

Focus on materials with the highest volume and carbon footprint. You cannot tackle the problem from day one. Start with materials that will make the most impact.

Avoid transporting materials and equipment long distances. At TENDERD we use our in-house built technology to match the idle equipment in the market with contractors who look into renting equipment, depending on the project location and requirements. That results in faster equipment delivery with less carbon footprint and higher efficiency.

What is the current carbon footprint of your equipment? Without knowing the carbon footprint of your current equipment working in projects, you cannot set goals or benchmarks. The CO2 emissions of the machines rented via TENDERD are monitored in real-time with TENDERD telematics. The same technology can be installed on your owned machines and get real-time data and reports about the productivity of your equipment vs their carbon footprint. Learn more about TENDERD Track here.

Own it or rent it? In the materialistic world we live in we are used to buying everything, but do we really need to own everything? The Circular Economy concept keeps resources in use for as long as possible while extracting the maximum value from them. Instead of buying machines which require a certain budget for their purchase and maintenance, why not renting them for the work you need them? In that way, you will not only save budget but also maximize the resources used for the machine to be built.

We urgently need to act and unlock ways to build a healthier and greener future and it’s encouraging that green construction is getting more and more attention. Building awareness of the issue is a start.  Current ways of working need to be revised but nothing will change unless we adopt a different mindset. At TENDERD our passion for a more sustainable future shaped our mission which is to sustainably build humanity’s future.


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