Industry report highlights emission reduction technologies for construction sector

Industry report highlights emission reduction technologies for construction sector
21 October 2021

Osborne Clarke has published a construction industry report 'Economist Impact', commissioned by The Economist, that highlights that there are four main technologies in the construction sector which have the potential to reduce emissions, while low carbon cement also offers one of the biggest investment opportunities. 

The Economic Impact programme aims to identify how cities can achieve carbon emission targets while creating jobs, lowering energy costs for residents and improving overall quality of life. The Economist Impact looked at 10 cities around the world to assess the availability of policies or investment that support development and implementation of these most impactful technologies.

The four reduction technologies cited by Economist Impact that the construction sector can implement to reduce emissions are: building automation systems (BAS), digital twins, high-efficiency heat pumps, and low-carbon cement and concrete alternatives. Switching to low-carbon cements and eco-concretes could reduce 1.72-2.75bnt of CO2 emissions annually. Out of the 10 cities studied, only Paris and London had policies or programmes that used low-carbon cement. The implementation of BAS could reduce carbon emissions by 6.5-10.5Gt CO2 between 2020 and 2050 and could save building owners US$1.8-3.1trn in operating costs. Depending on the building type and size, the cost to implement digital twins can range from US$300,000 to several million. Finally, high-efficiency heat pumps have the potential to reduce GHG by 1.8GT annually as they can reduce energy for heating by up to 50 per cent, thereby emitting less CO2 than other heating methods.

"A shift to more low-carbon construction and operation that is required to meet the government's emissions reductions targets (78 per cent from 1990's levels by 2035, net zero by 2050) will require significant investment and regulatory reform," says Jonathan Culley, construction lawyer for Osborne Clarke.

"Looking forward, we anticipate a gradual shift towards the introduction of carbon budgets (alongside financial) on construction projects to help achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the life-cycle of a construction project, which is likely to include the increased uptake of more modern methods of construction and the specification and selection of lower carbon building materials," concluded Jonathan Culley. 

Published under Cement News