Towards a Sustainable Construction Equipment Industry

09 Dec 2019

With global warming emerging as the new buzzword and climate change problems causing growing concern among people worldwide, many industries are bolstering their efforts to become environmentally conscious; the Construction Equipment (CE) industry too isn’t far behind in this journey. According to a recent report of leading UK construction companies, around half of all non-renewables are consumed by  construction, rendering it one of the least sustainable industries in the world.  The CE Industry is hence bracing itself to adopt and reap the full benefits of sustainable technologies to boost its competitive advantage and improve its bottom line.

The growth of the Indian construction equipment industry has been on an upswing   since 2015. This has been greatly propelled by the Government of India’s focus on infrastructure development. India is thus at the threshold of becoming one of the foremost developing countries in which infrastructure is growing at a fast pace, with almost 27 km of highways being developed on a daily basis across the country. Given this great opportunity, deploying smart and sustainable construction equipment will increase demand for such machinery apart from assuring resources for the future.

Here are four ways in which the construction equipment companies can facilitate sustainable practices to curb pollution and limit the depletion of natural resources.

Using Energy Efficient Equipment

Construction equipment is one of the leading contributors to diesel pollution. Many manufacturers are hence taking rapid strides towards making their machines ‘green’. This involves refurbishing of machines to ensure reduced carbon emissions and other harmful gases. In such advanced machines, diesel oxidation catalysts are involved to reduce emissions This process creates a chemical reaction which converts most of the harmful exhaust gases into carbon dioxide and water. In the long run, pollution-compliant equipment is not only beneficial for the surroundings but adds value in terms of reduced operational costs. Such machines can reduce the overall maintenance cost too.

Reducing Construction Site Waste

Construction and demolition waste alone were estimated at 24 million tonnes in 2010.In India particularly, the use of recycled aggregates and construction debris has not been explored significantly. To address this issue, construction companies have been exploring ways to reduce waste by developing construction waste minimization programs. The use of equipment like the concrete recycling plant and mobile compact crushers would solve the construction industry’s waste disposal and recycling problems.

By using the concrete recycling plant, a customer can reuse the recycled green concrete of 4 lakhs m3 from the construction site. For every 50 numbers of concrete transit mixers washed for recycling the concrete per day, a total of 10 lakhs can be saved yearly. The use of recycled green concrete, emerging from concrete recycling plants, is mandatory in a Platinum rated LEED building construction process.

Machines like the mobile compact crusher helps in conventional processing of stone and earth, recycling, demolition, quarrying, mining and contracting applications. Mobile compact crusher helps in economical reuse of construction waste like building debris, asphalt and broken roads on site, particularly from inner-city construction sites.

Managing Construction Sites for an Improved Environment

It is interesting to note that construction sites consume almost 50% of global energy and water, 60% of raw materials, and causes 80% land loss to agriculture. So even during the beginning of a construction phase, it is very important to implement practices that will have a positive impact on the environment. This starts at jobsites where contractors and operators can attempt to reduce the use of natural resources.

Also care needs to be taken to not disrupt the existing ecosystems. This is done by ensuring that waste construction slurry is not dumped into the local water body. For this purpose, many businesses worldwide are employing sludge pumps in waste water treatment plants (WWTP) for the purification of their waste water by converting sludge into bio manures, thereby making an active contribution to the protection of environment. Foundationless concrete batching plant helps to reduce the costs of installation and safeguards the groundwater levels.

Practicing Inter-Company Sustainability

The CE companies, which expound the benefits of eco-friendly machines and practices, should themselves adopt the principle within their own premises. Many companies are nowadays seeking LEED certification for their offices and implementing recycle programs, both in-house and at construction sites. Employees are further encouraged to go green and are provided with green building training. There is also an increase in firms which are willing to increase their CSR spends on environmental programs. Educating the public and creating such an awareness would help the community to understand the CE industry’s role in ensuring a sustainable future.

In conclusion, most CE companies are looking at adopting sustainability in the near future. Global climate change is forcing the CE industry to realign their strategies to ensure a safer future for the next generation. The Government of India, industry bodies, trade and user associations and equipment owners should ensure the adoption of environment-friendly machines and moving towards a sustainable future.

Mr. V.G.Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India Private Limited, Convenor for Membership Committee, ICEMA and Chairman of Mechanisation Committee, Builders Association of India.

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