Renewable energy is finally moving into center stage with about half the world’s energy expected to come from renewable sources by 2035. With a shift to reducing carbon footprints and more stringent laws on carbon emissions, the construction industry has to focus on ways to reduce its own carbon footprint which currently accounts for 39% of global carbon emissions and 40% of its energy usage.
This means construction sites are moving away from fossil fuels. Oslo has already created the first zero-emissions jobsite powered by electric machinery. The project saved an estimated 35 thousand liters of diesel which is the same as taking 20 cars off the road for a year.
Most construction equipment companies are focusing on developing heavy equipment which does not use fossil fuels or hydraulic systems.
There are many benefits to going electric including savings on fossil fuels, and zero waste status which could lead to tax rebates. A vast reduction in noise pollution means your workers have less chance of suffering hearing loss, and neighbors are happier. With less noise, you can extend your construction hours and start earlier, finish later and work on weekends. Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts and tend to require less maintenance.
There are downsides to converting to electrical vehicles. This would require you to make a large initial investment in securing sufficient energy supplies to the site, which may be difficult in remote or rural areas. Many areas are still powered by fossil fuel plants which means any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is negated if you’re powering your vehicles through coal power plants.
Higher initial costs for electric vehicles are a barrier as is recharge times which can be protracted and, if you don’t plan correctly, can hamper progress. The U.S. Department of Energy recently provided $45 million in funding to support the domestic development of advanced batteries. With advances in technology, longer battery life will help alleviate this issue.