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How can construction companies offset their carbon footprint?
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How can construction companies offset their carbon footprint?

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How can construction companies offset their carbon footprint?

As the population of the world increases, so too does the need for homes and other buildings that accommodate daily life tasks. Unfortunately, demand for speed and quantity of work often comes at the expense of the planet, at a time when temperatures are rising and ice caps are melting because of climate change. 

Fortunately, there are several things that construction companies can do to reduce the effect that they’re having on the environment, without needing to compromise on the speed of delivery. Whilst this may incur a little extra cost, this responsible attitude is the best thing for the planet. It may also be an attractive business prospect for eco-conscious clients, as people become increasingly aware of the climate crisis and want to take steps in their own lives to tackle the problem.

One option that doesn’t require construction companies to make big changes to the way they function and the materials that they use is carbon offsetting. This approach is sometimes criticised as it doesn’t actually reduce the amount of carbon that a company produces, 

but rather is a financial way for them to tackle the issue. However, carbon offsetting is far better than doing nothing at all, and for some larger companies, it offers a great chance to make a change that would otherwise cost a significant amount of money and cause disruption.  

If you’ve decided that you want to offset your carbon footprint, there are a few ways to do it. Here, we take a look at some of the options.

Carbon capture schemes

There are two choices when it comes to carbon offsetting. Carbon capture relies on capturing the carbon, either at the time of production if it’s in industry, or using trees if it’s already been released into the atmosphere. It is then stored either deep underground in rock or in the trees, which stops it escaping back into the air. 

The most common form of this for companies without the facilities to capture and store carbon themselves is to pay for carbon credits. This means that they either pay per employee or calculate their carbon emissions and then pay for the right amount of carbon offsetting through an established scheme. 

One of the benefits of this is that the tree planting schemes tend to be set up where they’re needed most, so even if that’s not in your local area, you can still make an impact. It’s important to ensure that you use a reliable carbon offsetting scheme, as not all the projects make the same impact or have the same quality. 

Carbon reduction schemes

An alternative option to carbon capture is carbon reduction. This means that companies pay into schemes that help improve energy efficiency and support clean energy projects. This can also include creating alternative energy sources such as wind turbines or solar power. Doing this has the twin benefit of carbon offsetting and also raising awareness and support within a community. 

On a construction site, there are lots of possibilities to explore when it comes to using greener energy. From factoring in sustainable solutions like solar panels into the design process, to replacing inefficient diesel generations with hydrogen fuel cells, making more sustainable choices today can benefit the environment now and for many years to come. 

How do I calculate how much carbon I need to offset?

The amount of carbon that you need to offset will be specific to your team and your business activity, there is no one-size-fits-all scheme. Instead, you can either use an online calculator and input your activity, or for the most accurate and actionable report, get a consultant to come and assess your business. You’ll need to consider if you want to offset for just your business activity, or if you also want to include your employee’s commutes or even personal carbon footprints as well.

Getting a carbon footprint report will break down your emissions into three categories:

  • Direct emissions: emissions that are under your control. This includes your choice of heating for your home or choice of fuel for your car for example.
  • Indirect emissions from energy: these are the emissions generated in the creation of the electricity you use, for example.
  • Indirect emissions: The other type of indirect emissions are those outside the control of you or your company, such as those in the supply chain. 

Getting a report also means that you can get advice on any other changes that you can make to your business. This could be useful for shaping future action when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. 

Frequently asked questions

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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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How can construction companies offset their carbon footprint?

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