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Sustainable transportation: A key ingredient in net zero build environment

Sustainable transportation: A key ingredient in net zero build environment

Mobility is a crucial part of the construction industry; required for the frequent transportation of workforce and materials. However, current transportation relies on burning fossil fuels leading to significant CO2 emissions. As the world becomes increasingly focused on reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change, the importance of sustainable transportation cannot be overstated.

The AEC industry, particularly construction since it involves more moving parts, must prioritize sustainable transportation to reduce CO2 emissions, improve air quality, and create more holistic build environments.

What is sustainable transportation?

Sustainable transportation refers to modes of transportation that have a minimum negative impact on the environment, public health, and society. They promote economic, social, and environmental well-being.

Energy-efficient and zero- to low-CO2 emitting modes of transportation like walking, cycling, public transport, and electric vehicles (EV), can be considered sustainable. 

Why do we need to bring sustainable transportation in build environments?

The construction industry is one of the biggest contributors to CO2 (around 40% of total annual emissions globally) and it’s also one of the most rapidly growing industries. Although operations cannot be halted, it is the responsibility of companies to implement sustainable practices that minimize negative environmental effects.

Now the sustainable practices we talk of here range from designing an energy-efficient structure to optimizing land usage and limiting waste. Decarbonizing mobility, or in simple terms- adopting sustainable transport solutions, is also a way for construction businesses to create ‘greener’ built environments. 

So, why focus on the transportation part of construction?

  1. Transportation accounts for a significant portion of global greenhouse gas emissions, with road transportation being one of the largest contributors. By promoting sustainable transportation options, such as public transit, walking, cycling, EVs, and alternative fuel vehicles, we can significantly reduce the carbon footprint from build environments and mitigate the effects of climate change.
  2. More liveable and equitable communities can be created as sustainable transportation will help in reducing congestion, improving air quality, promoting an active lifestyle. It will also promote economic growth and resilience by reducing transportation costs.
  3. Adopting green transport options is an opportunity for businesses to build their sustainable image, attract investors, and make their brands stand out among competitors. Furthermore, businesses can meet regulatory requirements and avoid penalties. 
  4. Prioritizing sustainable transportation options such as carpooling and public transport can foster a sense of community and build trust among the workforce as it allows them to connect on a personal level. This can lead to improved collaboration, communication, and coordination, ultimately creating a more efficient and engaged working environment. 

The ‘why’ paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it? But that’s the end goal. Before that, there will be the process, the picking up of brushes and applying masterful strokes!

Strategies for transportation sustainability in construction?

Firstly, it must come from the inside; pro-activeness and a desire from the firm and its employees to create a positive impact. Here are a few hands-on strategies that can be implemented for sustainable transportation in construction-

  • Carpooling / Public Transport

Why choose private vehicles? We just told you how attractive it can be to carpool with your colleagues or share a seat with them on a bus!

If socializing isn’t your type of game, then let’s keep it simple. Walking and cycling are two great alternatives if the construction site is near your residence.

  • Efficient routes for transporting materials

Logistics is a huge part of construction and businesses must come up with efficient transport routes to acquire these materials.

  • EVs and hybrids

The carbon footprint from build environments can be reduced further by using EVs (cars or scooters) or hybrids on construction sites. We are seeing a massive push in the development of EVs. Back in February, Ford announced that they are setting up a USD 3.5 billion EV battery plant in Michigan. This means, there will be a higher supply of EVs that will be available for purchase! 

Ford is Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry in addition to Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) chemistry. Both have unique benefits, and they will allow “customers to choose an electric vehicle with unique battery performance characteristics most aligned with their needs.”

According to Ford’s announcement, “LFP batteries are very durable and tolerate more frequent and faster charging while using fewer high-demand, high-cost materials. This lower-cost battery, at scale, will help Ford contain or even further reduce EV prices for customers. These LFP batteries will power a variety of affordable, next-generation Ford EV passenger vehicles and trucks under development, most of which will be assembled in the U.S.”

So going into the future, you might see Ford’s EV trucks pulling construction material! 

What we want to say is, it doesn’t matter which EV you choose if it meets your transportation needs and sustainability goals. Moreover, EVs are quieter compared to other vehicles. One less noisy element to worry about on otherwise loud construction sites!

To know more about bringing EVs into construction sites, readers can look forward to the 2023 Decarbonizing Mobility Forum which is set to take place in Amsterdam on September 13-14, 2023. It is aimed at finding sustainable mobility solutions in infrastructure.

How else can we help in reducing CO2 emissions from build environments?

Apart from decarbonizing mobility, we can focus on decarbonizing other elements as well. There is a study that points to a new rock-crushing method that traps CO2. That is something we should look at. Energy-efficient designs can go a long way in reducing a building’s carbon footprint. 

Prefab construction is gaining popularity. It’s a method where building components are manufactured off-site in a controlled environment and then assembled on the actual construction site. Components are robust, so they are not damaged during transportation. Prefab comes with a slew of benefits like reduced waste, reduced costs, and energy efficiency. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be effective in making construction sites safer and optimizing workflows. AI can be implemented into operations for data analysis, integrated with remote sensing tools for scanning, inspection, overall workplace monitoring, and quality control. Businesses can make informed decisions about their operations and avoid situations where they will need more materials. 

Microsoft’s new data center campus: How can they make it sustainable?

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For more queries regarding any of the above-mentioned topics, feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com, or contact us at +1-919-238-4044.

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