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Construction sites can become greener

Construction sites in Norway pollute as much as all the cars in Oslo. The state of the Danish construction industry is not quite that bad, but there is room for environmental improvement - and lots of money to be saved, says John Sommer, co-author of a book about circular economy in the construction industry. 
On most Danish construction sites today, power cables and district heating are installed first, so these can be used during the construction process, thereby reducing energy consumption. Photo: MT Højgaard

Publiceret: 23.08.2017
Af Lotte Malene Ruby mail

420,000 tons of CO2.

That is the amount of emissions from Norwegian construction sites every year. That corresponds to the emission from all passenger cars and other light vehicles in Oslo.

The good news is that CO2 emissions and the associated high particle pollution can almost be eliminated through better planning and more sustainable machinery and construction techniques.

This is the conclusion of the report “Emission-free construction sites,” written by DNV GL for Energy Norway, among others.

“Norway is in the middle of its first major construction boom, and the Norwegians do not have the same tradition for working with energy savings that we do in Denmark. In Denmark we have worked with these things for many years, and we have come a long way, but we can definitely still improve,” says John Sommer, co-author of the book Building A Circular Future and Strategy and Business Development Director at MT Højgaard.

From diesel to electricity and district heating


The Norwegian report focuses on a typical construction site in which most processes happen on site with diesel-powered vehicles and machines. Hence, one recommendation is to instead start by installing power cables and district heating, which can then be used in the construction processes.

“We already do this on most Danish construction sites, if possible. It is a question of planning of the construction processes, which we are continuously getting better at. Better planning means less waste and lower costs – something that professional developers such as the big pension funds are aware of,” says John Sommer.

If he is to name one area in which Norway is ahead of Denmark in terms of sustainable construction processes, he points to the fact that Norwegian authorities are good at making requirements for environmental and sustainability when it comes to public sector construction.

In fact, all major public sector constructions in Norway receive sustainability certification from the independent Norwegian Green Building Council.
Better planning means less waste and lower costs.
JOHN SOMMER, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR AT MT HØJGAARD.
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PUBLISHED: 8/23/2017 LAST MODIFIED: 8/23/2017