Construction

Your UK Business Climate Hub net zero plan for the construction sector.

Contents

  1. Understand your business emissions
  2. Get finance and support
  3. Actions you can take right now
  4. Longer term actions
  5. Indirect emissions
  6. Share your progress

Understand your business emissions

1) What causes emissions

Direct carbon emissions produced by the construction industry include:

  • energy use – for on-site machinery and lighting and heating in work buildings
  • transport – using vehicles which run on petrol or diesel
  • general waste – when it isn’t recycled and ends up at landfill sites

2) Calculate your emissions

Use a free carbon calculator to work out your business’s carbon footprint. This is measured in tonnes, over a year.

3) Estimate the cost of your emissions

Once you have your carbon footprint, you can calculate how much your emissions are costing you. This will give you an idea of potential savings you can make by taking action.

4) Sign up to the SME climate commitment

Make a climate declaration to show customers you are committed to reducing emissions.

Get finance and support

1) Get help and advice from the following organisations:

You can also learn how to run your business in a more environmentally friendly way by hiring a sustainability consultant.

2) Get financial support

Actions you can take right now

1) Save energy at your office and workplace

Quick low-cost actions include:

  • lighting – use LED bulbs for greater efficiency
  • heating – put your thermostat on a timer and seal your windows for extra insulation
  • office equipment – try to turn off and unplug devices when they’re not being used

2) Do an energy walk-round

Walk around your buildings and see where energy is being used.

Prepare a checklist

Look out for wasteful energy use and maintenance issues in the following areas:

  1. Look at lighting, heating and refrigeration systems, as well as ventilation and water heating.
  2. Identify wasteful energy use and maintenance issues.
  3. Check at different times of day and compare day and night time use.
  4. Monitor over a period of a week for accurate average figures.
  5. Make sure equipment is checked and cleaned regularly to ensure maximum efficiency.

Improve ventilation

Routine maintenance checks and cleaning will improve the efficiency of your ventilation system.

3) Change your energy tariff

Switch to a green energy tariff with your energy supplier. This will reduce your reliance on energy produced by fossil fuels.

4) Switch to a smart meter

This will allow you to see and control how much energy you use. Find out more about smart meters.

5) Manage your waste

Recycle waste to prevent it being taken to landfill sites where it takes longer to break down and causes more emissions.

6) Get training in energy efficiency

You can train your team to be aware of energy efficiency in the workplace. Find a sustainability course.

Longer term actions

1) Make changes at your office and workplace

You can take a number of long-term measures to improve energy efficiency at your work buildings.

Check planning permissions guidelines before you go ahead with any structural changes.

Improve insulation and windows

You can make long-term savings on energy bills by insulating buildings and replacing old windows.

Install renewables

You might also consider installing renewable sources of energy on your land.

For example:

By doing so, you could make significant long-term savings on energy bills.

2) Make changes at the construction site

Avoid using fuel-powered generators

More efficient alternatives include:

  • a high-capacity electricity grid connection
  • hybrid power generators (HPGs), which work with renewable technologies such as solar, wind, battery and biodiesel

Use sustainable materials

Many building materials contain high amounts of embodied carbon. Find out about sourcing low-carbon building materials from the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products

3) Reduce transport emissions

Over 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by transport.

You can take measures to reduce emissions from freight and logistics.

If you have employees you could introduce a cycle-to-work initiative or encourage them to take public transport.

Visit our page on switching employee mode of transport for guidance.

Electric vehicles

If you use a work vehicle, you can reduce emissions by switching over to an electric vehicle (EV). You would be exempt from road tax, congestion charges and parking fees in certain areas.

For easy overnight charging you could install EV chargers at your home or workplace.

Visit our page to find out more about installing chargepoints.

Indirect emissions

To reduce indirect or ‘supply chain’ emissions you need to consider what happens before and after your business provides a service or makes a product.

1) Choose greener ‘upstream’ suppliers and products

  • use suppliers that measure and reduce carbon
  • help your suppliers with carbon reduction projects
  • buy products that take less energy to make, transport and operate

Find out more about how to source products and services from green suppliers.

2) Reduce emissions ‘downstream’ of your business

  • make products that take less energy to make, transport and operate
  • reduce water consumption and waste disposal needs
  • make investments in lower carbon financial products
  • give incentives for lower emission activities in leased assets or franchises

3) Certify your supply chain action

PAS 2060 is the internationally applicable specification to demonstrate carbon neutrality.

PAS 2060 certification can enhance your business’s performance and resilience and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The standard process for PAS 2060 certification includes these steps:

  1. Assessment of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) based on accurate measurement data.
  2. Reduction of emissions through a target-driven carbon management plan.
  3. Documentation and verification through qualifying explanatory statements and public disclosure.

Through independent British Standards Institution (BSI) verification for PAS 2060, your business can demonstrate that it has met these requirements.

Search on Google for organisations that provide PAS 2060 verification.

Share your progress

Sharing your progress will help employees and customers feel confident that you’re reducing carbon and moving towards net zero.

You should share your progress once you’ve done both of the following:

  • worked out a benchmark of emissions
  • started to take action

Find out more about how to track and share your progress.