The use of renewable energy is a great way to minimize or eliminate emissions from construction sites. Construction sites are the major sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and they are responsible for around 39% of all energy and process-related carbon dioxide release worldwide.
This is because they require high energy to operate heavy machinery. For instance, construction equipment in the United States consume around 6 billion gallons of non-renewable fuels annually. Therefore, construction sites are one of the main focus areas to reduce GHG and minimize global warming.
The rapid expansion in urban construction and strict carbon reduction regulations have turned investors toward alternative energy sources, like wind, solar, hydroelectric, hydrogen power cell, etc., to power construction sites.
Moreover, technological developments have made renewable energy more efficient, accessible, and affordable. That is why the decision to switch to alternative energy sources is easier now than ever.
Electric tools, lighting, electric trucks, air conditioning, and heating are all power-consuming sources at construction sites. Powering these with green energy will not only make construction sites environmentally friendly but also motivate companies to invest in advancing renewable energy technology.
In addition, when the construction industry uses machinery powered by renewable energy sources, it can fully meet sustainability standards.
Top 4 Sources of Renewable Energy for Powering Construction Sites
1. Solar Energy
Solar power is an inexhaustible source of renewable energy that can be used to power construction sites. In addition, various types of heavy machinery, like loaders and excavators made by Volvo, are specifically manufactured to be powered by solar power.
Adopting these solar-powered machines is a great step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions since heavy construction machines are massive sources of pollution.
Moreover, construction sites can be illuminated with green lighting systems like solar lanterns, which are more economical than fossil fuel alternatives. The green lighting systems are cheaper to operate and reduce emissions while providing required visibility.
Commercial solar companies have also produced photovoltaic windows that can reduce building greenhouse gas emissions. The photovoltaic windows can generate electricity and control the amount of light that enters the living space.
As a result, they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy costs, and the cost of air conditioning due to reduced transparency.
2. Wind Energy
Wind energy is another viable renewable source that is suitable for areas not connected to a power grid, like construction sites. So, instead of relying on gas-powered generators, construction companies and project site staff can partner with wind power farms to get the required energy.
It is estimated that around 60,000 turbines have been erected in the United States, which can provide the required wind energy to all construction sites.
Moreover, the price of wind energy is also low. So, if the construction industry adopts wind energy, it can fund wind farm owners and help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Hydroelectric Energy
Hydroelectric power is the most widely utilized clean energy source worldwide. It produces the highest share of all types of renewable energy; approximately 71% of the total green energy.
Hydroelectric energy may not be as handy as solar energy, but construction crews can get necessary power from nearby hydropower plants rather than relying on generators.
Hydroelectric energy may be accessible to construction staff where wind power is not present. This accessibility helps construction sites to switch to such efficient renewable energy sources. As a result, the entire industry will be more sustainable.
4. Hydrogen Power Cell
Hydrogen power cells are a growing form of renewable energy. They are portable and scalable, which makes them considerably suitable for construction sites, owing to their temporary nature.
Siemens Energy has developed a fuel cell system specifically for construction sites. It includes a fuel cell in a shipping container that can power any equipment.
Another form of hydrogen power are hydrogen-powered construction equipment; for instance, Hyundai plans to unveil a hydrogen power cell excavator by 2023. For more details on hydrogen power, please click here.
Trend Toward Adopting Renewable Energy Sources
The trend of using renewable energy sources to power construction sites is promising. Global economic powers like the United States, the United Kingdom, and China are compelling examples in this regard.
For instance, three out of five construction firms in the United Kingdom have supported the idea of using renewable energy to power construction sites. Whereas China has become the largest producer, exporter, and installer of wind turbines, solar panels, backup batteries, and electric vehicles.
Renewable energy is not depleted when used, such as wind, sun, hydroelectric, and hydrogen. They are often known as clean, green, or sustainable forms of energy due to their minimal environmental impact compared to fossil fuels.
Construction sites can get the necessary power from alternative energy sources to power equipment and illuminate the site. In addition, renewable powered-heavy machinery can be used in construction sites to prevent the massive greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-powered heavy machines.
1. Hydroelectric power
2. Sun power
3. Wind power
4. Hydrogen power