Canadian Contractor

Macenzie Rebelo   

‘More needs to be done’: BLC 2024 on reducing construction emissions

Canadian Contractor Biodiesel emissions Net Zero

A group of people sit on stage of a panel.

(BLC 2024 panel/Macenzie Rebelo)

The construction industry is responsible for a large amount of the worlds green house gas (GHG) emissions. According to Statistics Canada, between 1990 and 2022, Canada’s GHG emissions increased by 16.5 per cent. If Canada is trying to go net-zero by 2050, this means a lot of work need to be done on behalf of the contractor and developer industry to become more sustainable.

During the Canada Green Building Council (CGBC) Building Lasting Change (BLC) conference in Toronto, Ont., representatives from Ledcor, EllisDon, Multiplex and CGBC address concerns on the “From Data to Action: Reducing Construction Emissions” panel.

“Not enough companies and people are mandated to track construction emissions,” said Multiplex senior sustainability manager, Anya Barkan. “There really needs to be a lot more done in terms of tracking and understanding the impact of the construction emissions, because generally its very much underestimated.”

Barkan and a round table of engineers, architects and contractors are looking for solutions specifically in the residential sector. “Residential has been the slowest to adapt to the foundation and to low-carbon,” says Barkan.

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Barkan suggests focusing on electric and low carbon equipment alongside alternative fuels on the construction site. Previously, Multiplex piloted successful  biodiesel (B20) projects. “It doesn’t affect the equipment operation and it’s also cost exactly the same as conventional diesel,” said Barkan. “The only constraint is that it is seasonal fuel.”

Although biodiesel does not eliminate construction emissions, it does reduce it according to her presentation. Barkan, also suggests working with electrical equipment with low-carbon emissions on the job site. “We have partnered with rental equipment companies,” said Barkan. “There are so many great opportunities to start a conversation and raise awareness.”

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