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It has been an enlightening process to identify the biggest opportunities for construction firms to cut their carbon emissions along with their fuel and energy costs

Industry action plan launched today Strategic Forum for Construction and the Carbon Trust

The humble construction site cabin is set for a makeover as part of an ambitious plan to cut the carbon footprint of sites by 15% within the next two years.

The plan, launched today, was developed by the Strategic Forum for Construction in partnership with the Carbon Trust and with the involvement of many of the leading names in the UK construction industry. It outlines a package of measures designed to cut the industry’s carbon emissions in England by some 750,000 tonnes a year, saving firms £180m a year in energy costs.

Temporary cabins are identified as one of the top sources of carbon emissions and wasted energy on construction sites. They are often poorly insulated and lack the controls for heating, lighting and electricity use that are increasingly found in permanent buildings.

Cabins also represent one of the biggest opportunities for contractors to cut their costs as well as their carbon emissions. The plan estimates that £45m and 200,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved each year by using modern “green” site offices that can cut carbon emissions and energy use by 50%, or by retrofitting existing cabins to be more energy efficient.

Over their lifetime, energy efficient cabins alone could reduce emissions by five million tonnes, the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road for a year.

Paul Toyne, Chairman of the Carbon Subgroup of the Strategic Forum for Construction, said:

“This project has seen collaboration on an unprecedented level within the industry to address the issue of carbon emissions from construction sites. The work we have done to date has set out the scale of the task and the actions that need to be taken. The challenge for us now is to deliver it. While many individual companies are already taking significant steps to reduce their own emissions, this plan provides the blueprint for a pan-industry approach which will enable rapid progress on reducing energy consumption while maintaining business performance.”

David Vincent, Director of Projects at the Carbon Trust, said:

“It has been an enlightening process to identify the biggest opportunities for construction firms to cut their carbon emissions along with their fuel and energy costs. As much as 25% of the carbon reduction target can be achieved, and tens of millions of pounds saved, by putting an end to the wasted heat and lighting from thousands of site offices across the country.

“We look forward to working with the Strategic Forum for Construction and industry leaders to implement this plan over the next two years.”

The action plan from the Strategic Forum for Construction and the Carbon Trust also sets out several additional actions the construction industry needs to take in order to achieve its 15% reduction target with two years. These include:

• More fuel efficient driving for freight, waste transport and business travel, and using more fuel efficient fleet vehicles: predicted saving of £90m and 270,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
• Using construction plant efficiently. This includes educating site staff on the fuel efficient use of equipment, collecting and analysing energy data from on site equipment, and enabling all mobile plant to turn off automatically when not being used: predicted saving of £19m and 84,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
• Connecting construction sites to the national grid earlier to minimise the use of diesel powered generators: predicted saving of £7m and 45,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
• Improving energy efficiency in corporate offices: predicted saving of £4m and 28,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Paul Morrell, Chief Construction Adviser, said:
“We cannot simply say that the weight of responsibility for action on carbon reduction lies elsewhere. The scale of the contribution required from the industry creates not just the opportunity but almost the obligation to show leadership; and this initiative from the Strategic Forum for Construction is precisely the kind of act of leadership we need. If we are to demonstrate that the construction industry is indeed fit for purpose to deliver the remodelled built environment that a low carbon future demands, then we start by putting out own house in order in this way.”

Copies of the action plan can be downloaded from:


If you have any further queries please contact Eimear Fitzpatrick in the Carbon Trust press office on 01753 827294

Notes to editors

• The action plan focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from on site construction (plant and equipment) and site accommodation; transport associated with the delivery of materials and removal of waste; business travel; and permanent (corporate) offices.

• The joint Government and industry Strategy for Sustainable Construction, which was launched in 2008, includes a target of reducing carbon emissions from construction sites and associated transport by 15% by 2012 against the 2008 baseline.

• A project by the Strategic Forum for Construction and the Carbon Trust has established the industry’s 2008 baseline carbon footprint from construction processes and transport at 5 million tonnes for England and around 6 million for the UK as a whole. The 15% reduction target equates to 750,000 tonnes of CO2 year in England.

• The action plan was developed with input from members of the Strategic Forum Carbon Sub-Group who include: Arup; Balfour Beatty; BAM; Bovis Lend Lease; Caledonian; Carbon Trust; Carillion; Civil Engineering Contractors Association; Construction Industry Council; Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Department of Business, Innovation and Skills; Department of Energy and Climate Change; Dorton Group; EDF Energy; Environment Agency; Highways Agency; JCB; Kier Group; Laing O’Rourke; McLaughlin & Harvey; Mtech; Skanska; Speedy Hire; Taylor Wimpey; UK Contractors Group; Vinci Construction; Wilson James.

About the Strategic Forum for Construction

The membership of the Strategic Forum comprises:

• Construction Clients Group
• Construction Industry Council
• UK Contractors Group and Construction Alliance
• Construction Products Association
• National Specialist Contractors’ Council
• Specialist Engineering Contractors Group
• Trades Union Council.

The Strategic Forum for Construction is the only construction forum that seeks to represent the whole of the construction community. It comprises senior members of the constituent organisations. The Forum’s activities are both proactive and reactive but at all times seek to work in partnership across the industry to achieve long term improvements.

The Strategic Forum has a number of Task Groups including the Sustainable Construction Task Group through whose auspices the work on the waste and carbon targets came about.

About the Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, providing specialist support to business and the public sector to help cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies. By stimulating low carbon action we contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.

We help to cut carbon emissions now by

• Providing specialist advice and finance to help organisations cut carbon
• Setting standards for carbon reduction

We reduce potential future carbon emissions by

• Opening markets for low carbon technologies
• Leading industry collaborations to commercialise technologies
• Investing in early stage low carbon companies

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Octopus Communications in the following categories: Environment & Nature, Construction & Property, for more information visit