Reducing CO2 emissions of construction equipment

Three specialized, independent research companies – Climate Neutral Group, CE Delft and SGS Search – have researched and calculated the CO2 emissions during the full life-cycle of ten pieces of equipment representative of the portfolio of European Rental Association (ERA) members.

The construction sector is responsible for about a fifth (20%) of global emissions. In Europe, the construction industry contributes 9% to the GDP. And is responsible for approximately 13% of the carbon emissions.

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The research concludes that efficient use lowers the total carbon footprint (based on life cycle analysis) of the pieces of equipment and that the rental business model stimulates efficient use. Depending on specific user practice, ERA estimates that this can lead to significant reductions, in the range of 30% and sometimes over 50%.

The consultants have built a calculator to determine the carbon footprint of the use of construction equipment, based on various parameters. The parameters having the most influence on the carbon footprint of equipment are:
1. The intensity of use – maximizing the utilization rate could reduce the amount of equipment required
2. Using the right equipment for the job
3. Transportation – shorter distance and high load factors
4. Maintenance – allowing extended lifetime

The carbon footprint calculator will allow everyone, rental companies, and others, to input their figures and position themselves on a spectrum of efficient, versus inefficient handling of equipment. The calculator, combined with the ERA Equipment Total Cost of Ownership Calculator, becomes a useful tool to support the choice for the most efficient and environmentally friendly scenario for use of equipment. By sharing equipment and performing in asset management, the rental industry contributes to avoiding carbon emissions.

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The main objective of the study was to discover the environmental impact of construction equipment. Ten pieces of equipment, from several manufacturers, were selected to be analyzed for the research to represent a wide variety of popular equipment categories, including earthmoving, material handling, access, power, and tool.
The study did not look at the use of zero-emission electric equipment in construction as a way to reduce CO2 and air pollution.

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Source: Climate Neutral Group

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