All About Going Green on the Construction Site

How to Build a Green Construction Site

Clean Construction USA is a component of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Clean Diesel Campaign (NCDC). The objective of those who initiated the plan was to, “promote the reduction of diesel emissions from construction equipment and vehicles.”

According to the EPA, there are more than 2 million pieces of construction equipment in the U.S. alone. The EPA aims to reward those individuals and companies who reduce two emissions types in particular: particulate matter and carbon dioxide.

Funding — in the form of grants, tax incentives or supplemental environmental projects — are available to those companies and individuals who take steps to build a green construction site. There is funding available on the federal, state and local levels.

What Steps Constitute the Development of a Green Construction Site?

There are five steps a company or individual can take to qualify for the benefits of the Clean Construction USA program.

Reduce Idling

Almost anyone who has ever been around construction equipment inevitably notices that on almost all job sites, equipment idle times are less than ideal, “Eliminating unnecessary idling not only reduces diesel emissions but reduces fuel costs and engine maintenance costs.”

Retrofitting Engines

Save for eliminating fuel waste, retrofitting engines are the single largest measure that can be taken to reduce emissions.

And, technologies like the Rentar Fuel Catalyst not only reduce emissions by 50 percent or more, the Rentar can reduce fuel consumption by anywhere from 3 – 8 percent on wheel and track powering engines; to 20 percent on generators; and greater than 30 percent on boilers and furnaces.

Switch to Cleaner Fuels

“Switching to fuels that contain lower levels of sulfur (such as ultra-low sulfur diesel) reduces particulate matter, enhances the effectiveness of retrofit technologies and can have a cleansing effect on the engine that reduces maintenance costs,” according to the EPA.

Properly Maintain Equipment

It is almost universally understood that poorly maintained equipment does not last as long as that which is maintained regularly and properly. Less well understood is the fact that poorly maintained equipment generally emits higher quantities of emissions.

Replace Vehicles or Engines

The EPA will reward those individuals and companies that replace their equipment with newer vehicles and engines that emit lower emissions. Generally, these incentives come in the form of tax breaks and subsidies.

But in addition to what individuals and companies do with respect to fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, the EPA also suggests encouraging, even mandating, others do so as well.

Clean Diesel Bid and Contract Policy

For those serious about fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, the EPA suggests putting clean diesel policy in bids, contracts, and agreements. When contracting out work to firms, developers, and subcontractors, the EPA encourages contract language that includes things like:

• Clean Diesel specifications or performance standards.

• The use of Model Contract Specification to provide Clean Diesel language in construction contracts.

• The emphasis of Clean Diesel policy during the bid process and throughout the project.

• Holding construction managers accountable for successfully implementing the Clean Diesel policy by making sure they:

◦ thoroughly understand all elements of the policy

◦ fully educate all contractors on Clean Diesel requirements throughout the duration of the project

◦ implement a tracking system

◦ see that all contract requirements are met

•And, responding to and resolve all issues regarding the policy.

Building a green construction site requires attention in every phase of the development process. By building green construction sites, companies can increase profit by reducing fuel expenditure costs, add to the life of machines, reduce waste and improve the condition of the environment by lowering the number of emissions that come from a project site.


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