The reduction strategies adopted by industries must be communicated and if a distinct carbon credit program is created for construction projects, it will be welcomed.
Ashoka Buildcon - Satish Parakh, Managing Director
The Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative (SBCI) of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reported that 30-40% of global energy demand is from the construction industry, which is expected to grow at an average rate of 1.5 to 3.4% in the next 20 years. As per our own experience and a survey, the major barriers to decarbonisation are:
- Need for institutionalizing frameworks for data collection and sharing
- Lack of climate change eco-friendly construction policies
- Need for environmental experts and manpower for infrastructure projects
- Lack of awareness of technology and real time utilization
- CO2 emissions accounting and consideration of low-carbon Interventions not considered in DPR stage
- Project timeline and contractual agreement
- Preventive maintenance of plant and machinery and spare parts availability
- Poor availability, poor perceived value of clients, low perceived value of contractors and builders, low awareness and lack of interest in framing decarbonization measures and misaligned policies.
At the CoP26 in Glasgow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a five-fold strategy to attain the desired NDC’s goal:
- attaining non-fossil energy capacity of 500GW by 2030
- fulfilling 50% of the country’s energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030
- reducing total projected carbon emissions by one billion tons by 2030
- reducing the carbon intensity of the economy by less than 45% by 2030
- making India carbon neutral and achieving net-zero emissions by 2070. We, as an infrastructure developer, consider this the best opportunity to achieve net-zero emissions. We have already started implementation of the SDG goals applicable to us for which we have taken the following initiatives:
- For site office and labour camp management, we have set up a pre-fabricated labour colony made by using the water-resistant materials like PVC, PUFF, PPGI Pre-Painted Galvanized Iron Steel (PPGI), Aero-con panels and Bison Board, instead of cement panel boards, and are using solar powered lights.
- Developed an Ashoka Buildcon Learning environment portal for educating staff and workers with 24x7 accessibility. We have prepared more than 20 such educational programs.
- Installed RO systems at project sites and supply of sufficient water for sanitation at labour colonies. We have septic tanks and soak pits for drainage water and undertake their regular cleaning.
- Installed solar energy plant at Bhandara, Durg, Belgaum, Dhankoni, Debra toll plaza etc. for generation of captive renewable energy.
- Installed organic waste composter to convert food waste into organic manure and reduce emissions.
- Acquired machinery and equipment that utilizes renewable or carbon-neutral fuels, CNG-based DG sets, electric vehicles and solar lights.
- Use of automatic bar bending machine to minimize wastage and use of scrap materials. We are planning to use machinery like HMP, WMM, RMC, Crushers, DG sets, and Dumpers across projects and portfolios.
- In road construction, Hot Mix plants, WMM, and RMC plants consume a lot of energy. Since the Hot Mix plants have fuel consumption of HSD, we have shifted from HSD to CNG by retrofitting the gas burners. For heating of bitumen by conventional method, we plan to change the electric coil heater jacketing methodology or make it solar based.
- Milling activity and reclaimed asphalt plant (RAP) save a good amount of fuel during quarrying, crushing, and transportation to site. In milling, we are reusing two kinds of waste: aggregate and waste bitumen. We have installed innovative technologies to monitor and reduce fuel consumption. These include the fuel level monitoring system (FLMS) by MOBA and Omnicom and Bitumen tank heating system.
We are proactively doing sustainable road construction without damaging the environment and natural resources and are following the 4R Principle of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Reclaim.
We have implemented specific practices at project sites such as recycle and reuse of waste materials like pond ash, iron slag, milling material, C&D waste as per substitute of GSB. We use plastic material in road construction as per the approved IRC guidelines, for instance, in a trial at Tumkur Shivmoga Road Project and at Panagarh Palshit Road Project.
We are using plastic material and crum rubber waste in hot mix wearing coat for periodic renewals in roads, reclaimed asphalt pavement, geo-synthetics, etc.
Steel waste is processed and recycled, e-waste (hazardous waste) is collected at a centralized location and then sent to authorized vendors for recycling, construction and demolition waste are reused for land filling and leveling in projects, and biodegradable/kitchen waste produced during operation is disposed of in OWC and converted into manure used for landscaping. A 100 kg capacity organic waste composter is operational at our project site, which results in avoiding emissions of around 10 tCO2e/year.
Carbon credit policy and independent body for construction industry
In India, the construction industry must have a specific carbon credit policy which will guide the industries for sustainable construction practices and also regulate the emissions norms. The Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF&CC), National Building Code (NBC) and Voluntary organizations like Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC), CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), EKI Energy Services Limited (Enking) etc. should act collaboratively to form carbon emission measurement guidelines and calculators.
Decorbonization and sustainability practices across industries should be monitored by a centralized body which collaborates the efforts of industries and helps to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions by 2070. The MoRTH, IRC, NHAI, PWD, MoEF&CC can help form such an independent association / body or an expert committee to prepare policy and procedures on sustainable construction with leading and lagging indicators, monitoring, assessment, and appreciations.