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This part of the report, is addressing to the energy use in construction and the actions that government and construction industry done so far in order to reduce carbon emissions and achieve sustainability. The major energy used in construction is by the machineries’ and also on the transportation of the materials to the site. Transportation accounts for 40% of all energy use in construction. The major energy consumers on site are construction equipment plants such as backhoe loaders; dampers; hydraulic excavators; cranes; etc.
All the terms and conditions in the government and construction industry have to stop support and sponsoring the atomic and fossil energy. Is time for everyone to look straight to the renewable energy and sources? Large amount of money are being spent per annum in order for a certain household to be working normally. Innovated energy schemes must be solely persisted on comprehensive national and global calculations. Those calculations results prove that the atomic and fossil sources of energy are inconsiderable more expensive than those based on alternative Energy sources are. Those added expenses of energy use developed an overwhelming social and environment chaotic debt for the new generations. Renewable energy/fuel options can be introduced and replace the atomic and fossil energy/fuel. Meanwhile they produce the energy that buildings need to either be constructed or work, are more convenient ways and also more friendly to the environment.
Construction plays a major part of the energy consumed in UK, accounts for approximately 50%. In the past the main energy consumption was used for heating, but now due to the climate distortions the demands for increasing energy also for cooling. These resulted to an extensive big cost, especially in the UK. The UK Government consequently has striving targets to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions. This will unavoidably oblige further tightening of building codes beyond the changes in 2006 and 2007 respectively to Part L of the Building Regulations for England and Wales, and Section 6 of the Building Standards (Scotland) (1). Most of the actions have been concentrated on the emissions associated to energy use in buildings. Moreover the arising issues of the embedded energy in materials, and the energy used in the transportations of the materials linked with construction has a big influence. The construction and transportation of building materials uses huge amounts of oil, gas, coal and electricity. The creation of this ’embedded energy’ has its own environmental issues such as arising of the emissions of CO2 and water and air pollutions.
During the various phases of construction, energy consumes. From the material extraction to construction and therefore to the transportation and from site construction to demolition.
During the transportation of materials to site and waste from site energy will also be used. The methods that involve energy use have been calculated and are as follows (2):
-the material extraction, and therefore their fabrication
-the transportation of the materials
-transportation of the recycled materials
-the construction and demolition procedures on the site
-the transportation of the wastes
-the transportation of the construction and demolitions wastes
The amount of CO2 emissions that construction can influence is significant, accounting for almost 47% of total CO2 emissions of the UK. Due to that fact, UK government set target and adopted the strategy to transform the UK into a low-carbon nation by taking into account any possible alterations in energy consumption and possible contribution of alternative sources. Numerous actions have been undertaken in order reducing the co2 emissions due construction. Those actions involved the alteration of the code for building regulations zero carbon houses by maximising the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources from 2016 and onwards.
In June 2008, UK government published Strategy for sustainable construction, 2008, which incorporate the targets ‘15% reduction in carbon emissions from construction processes and associated transport compared to 2008 levels’ (3), ‘25% of products used in construction projects to be from schemes recognised for responsible sourcing’ (3) and ‘all construction projects in excess of £1 million to have biodiversity surveys carried out and necessary actions instigated’ (3) (4).
We are going to mainly focus on the ‘15% reduction in carbon emissions from construction processes and associated transport compared to 2008 levels’ (3). (2)
The biggest sources of carbon emissions according to the 2008 baseline assessment have been identified. This Action Plan concentrates on the following points:
• On site construction (plant and equipment)
• Corporate offices
• Transport (delivery of materials to the site and removal of waste from the site)
• Business travel
The Figure 1 below, reviews and sums up the recommended actions that can be done to proceed towards accomplishing the construction carbon reduction target of 15%. We are only concentrated to five actions that cover the two bullet points above (On site construction (plant and equipment) and Transport (delivery of materials to the site and removal of waste from the site), only as they are the most important in the action plan, and will be therefore discuss in detail below the Figure 1 (2).
Energy efficient site accommodation (2)
Often the insulation at temporary offices at construction sites are poor and unlike permanent buildings do not have the equivalent building management controls. Cabins that have been properly designed and managed have demonstrated to achieve the equivalent energy efficiency standards as permanent buildings. Carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 50% or more using these ‘green’ cabins compared to traditional temporary accommodation.7
Energy efficient site accommodation implements both the use of new energy efficiency and the redevelopment of8 existing cabin supply before the cabins are sent off again on a project site. To begin with the industry would come to an agreement on specifications on the new redeveloped cabins. These Specifications would deal with the insulation including extra padding, the glazing of windows, heating which is more economical, lighting systems with built in motion sensors, a meter that reads the electricity, a thermostat, master switch for all appliances.
The key issues for this action is there isn’t an approved specification for energy efficient site accommodation and moreover the cost issues that arising by installing the greener cabins. Also the redeveloping of the existing cabins is complex task and has therefore more expenses. Big challenge that remains is to achieve this goal before 2012 and is really hard to see any results as would take time to redevelop all the existing stock. (2)
Efficient use of construction plant (2)
There are numerous policies for the efficient use of construction equipment plant such as:
-Avoid massive machines that cause inefficiency and select the appropriate machine for the construction undertaking and
Make a selection of the appropriate plant that is uses considerably smaller amount of fuel (2)
Address to more sustainable fuels that are more energy efficient (2)
Use the plant properly (2)
Servicing plant economically and not wastefully by reducing the idling time (2)
Operating plant efficiently (e.g. minimizing idling and make use of a suitable power) (2)
All of the above action concentrates on encouraging the operators of the plant to run any construction equipment plant more efficiently. Additionally to permit contractors and clients to be supportive of fuel-efficient plants, the plant suppliers must improve and advertise constant fuel consumption targets.
The issues with this are that the execution of this proposal would be hard for people to agree to as the cost of adopting the fuel-efficient plants would be set by the supplier and also the staff have to be trained and this wasting the time of the development to be constructed. (2)
Earlier connection to the grid (2)
On large construction sites power generators use large amounts of fuel so to minimise the amount of fuels used by the generators it would be more feasible to have the site connected to the national grid as early on in the construction as possible. This in turn would reduce CO2 emissions by a large amount. It requires though a series of steps to accomplished that.
The issues with this are that having the site connected would take time as energy suppliers must go through checks, coordinate themselves with other groups they may be in conjunction with and then at a date that they are available will you be connected. Delays in large construction works will be very expensive. (2)
Fuel-efficient freight driving and renewable transport fuels (2)
The Strategies considered for lowering the carbon emissions on the transportation of materials to site and waste from it are as follows:
Use of vehicles that are more fuel efficient (2)
Decreasing the quantities of materials transported (2)
Use vehicles that consume low quantities of carbon fuels (hybrid vehicles) (2)
Suitable loading of vehicles to increase the operation speeds and efficiency of vehicles. (2)
By obtaining construction materials from suppliers in the local area you can make a reduction in the distance travelled. (2)
By more efficient driving. Changing gears at the correct revolution and keeping a reasonable constant speed. (2)
The issues with this are the execution and certification of staff training; also it will be expensive to train a large number of staff and drivers and that will also cost further delays. (2)
Sharing knowledge about alternative sustainable fuels (2)
In the UK and Europe diesel fuel is mostly used for generators and equipment on site but there is an interest in using an alternative sustainable fuel. Generators that are fuelled by bio diesel or gas powered are less carbon concentrated and would cut carbon emissions by 25%.
These generators powered by diesel fuel have been tested on construction projects in the USA and in Europe and have been successful.
The issues with this are supply, biodiesel is not a fuel that is regularly used and there are few people who produce it. With the use of sustainable fuels there might be issues that will arise with health and safety, the impacts, reliability, and performance. As the cost of buying biodiesel will be cheaper the cost of hiring a generator that has been modified to use biodiesel will be more as there are few.
All those actions have been taken and will continue running in the construction section until 2012. Many problems arising from the other side, like financial and many delays to accomplish those actions. We might not successfully resolve and achieve all the actions according to the policies but at least we can see some progress of the construction industry part involving the environmental aspects. (2)
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