Zeroing In on Reducing Work Site Emissions


Futurists are promoting the goal of the zero-emissions construction site to aid in creating healthy cities. They forecast a day when construction activities are carried out exclusively with zero-emission construction products, machinery, and equipment. They even urge that all goods and workers use zero-emission vehicles.

According to Bellona Europa, a Brussels-based nonprofit working on environmental, climate, and social issues, the global construction industry contributes 23% of the world’s CO2 emissions across its entire supply chain. They suggest that approximately 5.5% of these emissions come directly from activities on construction sites, mainly from fossil fuels that power machinery and equipment.

Many municipalities have embraced initiatives that focus on the elimination of these emissions. Earlier this month, contractors began work on what is reported to be the world’s first zero-emission construction zone in Oslo, Norway ). The small road repair upgrade is just the beginning of what Oslo and other European cities hope will become the norm.

What makes this futuristic goal a present-day reality is the electrification of traditional machines. Practically every major equipment manufacturer has unveiled non-fossil fueled equipment at major events World of Concrete recognized this trend in 2020. Manufacturers were invited to display technologies that embraced the goal of zero emissions. Electrified machines provide reduced maintenance costs, increased safety features such lower noise, and emission-free work areas. Manufacturers ensure these ownership advantages come with greater performance characteristics than fuel-powered equipment.

Green Machine sells, rents, and leases their own line of full-sized battery-powered equipment to contractors, including mini-excavators in several sizes and light towers. The manufacturer replaces the diesel engine and drivetrain with its proprietary industry-leading battery and motor technology. Kirk Durham, Green Machine’s vice president of business development said interest was high from World of Concrete attendees. “Contractors are interested in the prospect of safer work environments that our equipment offers,” said Durham.

Ecoquipment showcased several electric powered dump buggies at World of Concrete, including a battery-powered wheelbarrow. These units are designed for repair contractors and placement crews who work in enclosed spaces where workers can be exposed to carbon monoxide fumes. The units fit through standard door openings, allowing easy access for craftspersons. 

Contractors wanting to improve work-site conditions by extending health and safety beyond personal protection equipment should take a look at these innovations.

Rick Yelton is the editor at large for World of Concrete. He can be reached at [email protected].