The Path to Energy Decentralisation in Construction

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_The Path to Energy Decentralisation in Construction
Image courtesy of RICS

Leaders in the construction industry are increasingly turning to energy decentralisation solutions in response to growing consumer interest in eco-friendly energy options.

Recent studies have shown a huge shift in consumer preferences, with 78% of US consumers expressing a strong preference for sustainability in their lifestyle choices.

Consequently, construction industry leaders are exploring energy decentralisation solutions as a means to meet this rising demand for eco-friendly energy alternatives in both commercial and residential spaces.

By adopting these solutions, companies not only have the opportunity to attract more clients but also to realise cost savings on electricity bills. Here, we delve into the concept of energy decentralisation and its relevance to the construction sector, along with practical steps for making the transition towards more sustainable energy practices.

Energy decentralisation entails the utilisation of electricity from sources beyond traditional industrial plants or the national power grid. This approach offers a sustainable alternative for powering residential and commercial spaces, including construction sites.

For active construction sites, renewable energy sources can be harnessed to power lighting and machinery without increasing the carbon footprint associated with electricity generated from fossil fuels. This not only ensures operational efficiency and crew safety but also aligns with environmental sustainability goals.

The construction industry's reliance on electricity for project operations necessitates a closer examination of energy sources. While the national power grid provides essential electricity for various construction activities, it predominantly relies on fossil fuel-based power generation.

In contrast, energy decentralisation offers a pathway to sustainable electricity consumption, providing benefits such as backup power capabilities and reduced utility expenses. Given that residential and commercial construction activities contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions, decentralised energy solutions present a viable means of addressing this environmental challenge.

To embrace energy decentralisation effectively, construction industry leaders can implement a range of strategies aimed at integrating green energy practices into their operations:

  • Deployment of mobile microgrids: Mobile solar panels equipped with internal battery storage offer a flexible and efficient energy solution for construction sites. These microgrids, coupled with remote monitoring capabilities, enable effective energy management onsite.

  • Utilisation of wind power: Transportable wind turbines can be deployed at construction sites to harness wind energy, particularly in areas with favourable wind conditions. This approach complements the use of gas-powered machinery, helping to mitigate the project's overall carbon footprint.

  • Adoption of green equipment: Investment in environmentally friendly construction machinery, such as hydrogen-powered excavators or electric dumpers, can further reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, transitioning to energy-efficient LED lighting contributes to overall energy conservation on construction sites.

  • Collaboration with local hydropower plants: Construction sites can explore partnerships with nearby hydropower plants to access clean energy resources. This collaborative approach leverages existing infrastructure to meet energy needs while minimising environmental impact.

  • Integration of battery storage solutions: Lithium-ion batteries offer a reliable means of storing excess energy generated from renewable sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. By incorporating battery storage systems into construction sites, companies can enhance energy resilience and sustainability.

In conclusion, the construction industry stands to benefit from embracing energy decentralisation as a means of meeting consumer demand for sustainable practices. By leveraging decentralised energy solutions such as solar power, wind power, and battery storage, construction projects can achieve cost savings, reduce carbon emissions, and demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship.

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Source: RICS

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