How to reduce your construction business’ carbon footprint
More companies around the world are building sustainability into their strategies and the construction industry is no different.
Reducing your carbon footprint is high on the agenda, not only because it can help you to become a more sustainable construction business, but because it can also help you avoid penalties.
A 2021 report from the National Engineering Policy Centre states that the UK construction industry should bring its carbon levels down, to be in line with national emission reduction targets of 68% by 2030. With only eight years to go, it’s worth taking a look at your sustainability policies now, to make sure you’re well prepared.
What is your carbon footprint?
Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide and methane) that your business produces. That could be through your construction processes, or through the fuel your employees use in company vehicles.
An online calculator – like this one from the Carbon Trust – can help you see what your business’ carbon footprint is.
You’ll need to know your annual:
- Fuel consumption (used on-site, and in company-owned vehicles)
- Energy consumption (used at any of your company sites)
- Top-ups to any air-con or refrigeration units (if you use equipment that runs on F gas)
Make sure you have the correct numbers for the year you want to report on – you can collect this from meter readings, bills, and service sheets.
How to reduce your construction business' carbon footprint
There are plenty of ways to bring down your business’ carbon footprint, from small changes like recycling your waste to bigger shifts like investing in new technology.
Here are our top 10 tips for reducing your carbon footprint in your construction business:
1. Invest in high-quality machinery
Although it may be costly to initially take the plunge and invest in new tech, this could benefit you when it comes to increasing staff efficiency and ensuring your machinery doesn’t end up in waste. Be sure to check the energy requirements of each machine you purchase to make sure you’re bringing the most energy-efficient tech into your workplace.
2. Keep all machinery maintained
It can be tempting to leave machinery run as long as possible before you call out a mechanic but keeping it maintained will keep costs down in the long term. Regular maintenance will also mean that your machines are running at optimum capacity and are using energy more efficiently.
3. Reduce water use
If you use a lot of water in your production process, reusing water could reduce your carbon footprint and conserve the world’s natural resources for future generations. Think about using water meters to track water usage so you can see where you can make changes.
4. Recycling your waste
We all do it at home but recycling your waste on a bigger scale could help you bring your carbon footprint down. Look at where you could reuse materials or even liaise with other companies to see if they can make use of your waste.
5. Use sustainable suppliers
The supply chain is a huge focus in many sectors as end-to-end sustainability becomes increasingly important. A 2022 study by Barclays found that in the retail sector, nearly 70% of retailers recognise that it’s equally important to work with ethical and sustainable suppliers, rising to 91% of retailers in the DIY sector. As supply chains become more transparent, it’s clear that those with sustainable credentials will be favoured over those that don’t.
6. Switching to different types of energy
As a global energy crisis unfolds, lots of people are turning to renewable energy sources. If this is an option for you, look into what type of energy will work best for you – solar, wind, or tidal, for example – before working out how you’ll phase out your current energy source.
7. Carbon offsetting
There are schemes you can pay into to help with carbon offsetting. Your money will go towards developing new technologies to reduce carbon emissions, or the company may plant trees on your behalf. It’s best to do your research to find out whether this is the right solution for your business.
8. Partnering with eco-architects
If the architects you work with don’t have sustainability at the top of their agenda, you may find it difficult to make it a priority in their designs. Eco-architects, however, will be making sure their designs stand the test of time and can offer a greener solution for the sake of the planet.
9. Work with accredited courses
There are lots of qualifications on the market, but the most widely recognised and respected are courses accredited by IEMA. IEMA is a professional body for everyone working in environment and sustainability, its courses are designed to enable skills and knowledge that drive sustainable professions.
10. Signup with EcoConstruct
EcoConstruct is a platform built to provide free to access resources to businesses within the construction industry. When you signup, you also get an industry recognised badge to show that your business is making an effort to keep up to date with the latest information and solutions to running a eco-friendly business within the construction.
To sign up, visit EcoConstruct here.
We hope this article brought you some insight on effective ways to reduce your carbon emissions where possible within the construction. Be sure to keep up with the latest articles released by EcoConstruct, breaking down the best plans of action to achieve sustainability within the construction industry + any advice and grants that are being released by the government.
Frequently asked questions
This article has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.
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