How Technology is helping cut Carbon Emissions in Construction Management
Technology has had a huge influence over every sector of the economy. It offers opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce costs, find new solutions to old issues and even to help attract a more diverse workforce. In the construction management sector it also has the potential to help make the industry more environmentally friendly by cutting carbon emissions. As a large volume of emissions come from the built environment this could make a huge difference to sustainability overall.
Construction management is not an energy efficient sector
That is certainly the case for now although steps are being taken across the board to try and rectify the situation. In 2018 the global construction sector was responsible for 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, according to the Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction. Another report found that 36% of final energy use in 2018 could be attributed to the construction sector. So, this is an industry that is a big energy consumer and a significant emitter. Using technology to shift these statistics seems like an obvious next step.
Harnessing innovation for change
Technological innovation is providing many opportunities for change within the construction sector, from using drones and digital tools, to integrating automation. There is great potential for improving safety and efficiency on site and to improve the quality of projects. Technology has also been harnessed by a range of businesses within construction and associated sectors to help cut carbon emissions and improve sustainability. Enel Green Power Brasil Participacoes, for example, is constructing five new renewable energy power plants using a range of tech-driven methods to help improve efficiency and cut waste, while a UK based collaboration is working on “low carbon smart pipes” that could prove essential for future efficiency-driven infrastructure projects.
The Balfour Beatty investment
Balfour Beatty announced at the end of 2020 that it was going to make greater investment in the technology being used at its sites in the hope that this would lead to better power management, cutting emissions in the process. It has developed a system – EcoNet – that is designed to help control and reduce the energy output from on site appliances in cabins, automatically turning appliances off when they are not being used. Most sites are currently powered by diesel generators or a link to the national grid and Bealfour Beatty has identified that there is plenty of scope for minimising the energy that is being used by avoiding situations where it is being wasted. If EcoNet is effective then it will work to avoid unnecessary wastage, which in turn will have a positive impact on the carbon emissions from each site because demand on the generators or the grid can be reduced. The project was initially tested back in May 2020 and is now being rolled out to 21 sites with 50 planned for integration by summer 2021.
Technology is reinventing the way that we do business and providing opportunities to reduce emissions in many different ways across construction today.