The report, ‘Building and Infrastructure Consumption Emissions’, published by C40 Cities, Arup and University of Leeds says changes to the construction industry could cut the emissions generated from buildings and infrastructure 44 per cent by 2050. The report urges action in 6 key areas to reduce the climate impact of construction in cities and cut the emissions generated from buildings:
- Implementing efficiency in material design;
- Enhancing existing building utilisation;
- Switching high-emission materials to sustainable timber where appropriate;
- Using lower-carbon cement;
- Reusing building materials and components;
- Using low, or zero-emission construction machinery.
The research report says these interventions would reduce air and noise pollution, providing health benefits for citizens and the environment. They would also spark change within the growing construction economy, providing opportunities for new jobs and skills.
C40 Cities’ members Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm have announced new clean construction commitments in parallel with the report’s release in bids to stem the tide of rising global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, mean temperatures and their impacts. The mayors of Copenhagen and Oslo said emissions from fossil fuel use at construction sites and civil works would be reduced by reducing use of fossil fuels.
Rules and regulations are to be introduced in Copenhagen and Oslo to reduce and eventually eliminate use of fossil fuels at construction sites, civil sites and facilities owned or run by the municipalities. These include purchasing biofuels and emissions-free machinery for the cities’ own use, and incorporating fossil fuel and emissions-free requirements for public procurement and projects supported by the city. In addition, all machinery and construction sites owned by the city are to be emissions-free by 2025.
Both cities have also committed to reduce the indirect emissions resulting from building works by prioritizing retrofits and refurbishment of existing stock, removing incentives for demolition and encouraging the use of low-carbon and reusable materials.