ENVIRONMENT: The Construction Climate Challenge summit in June will help the construction industry move towards a more sustainable future
The Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) is a Volvo Construction Equipment initiative to bring the industry together to support climate protection and energy efficiency through a more sustainable construction sector. Part of the CCC agenda is to identify gaps in current research and provide funding for projects which could improve sustainability across the life cycle of the construction process.
“The aim is for the CCC to become the default arena for discussion around climate research, project funding and strategy implementation in the construction industry,” says Volvo CE’s Niklas Nillroth, Vice President of Core Value Management and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Four main research themes have been prioritised for CCC support – energy efficiency, enablers for change and innovation, circular business models, and emerging sustainable technologies. Following a call for proposals in the summer of 2014, the first projects have been selected and are now up and running. Results will be presented for discussion to the CCC summit to be held in Gothenburg in June.
“The Gothenburg summit will bring together a range of industry stakeholders, governments and academics, and will be a valuable occasion to focus on future shared projects and on industry-wide actions to promote sustainable construction,” says Nillroth.
Researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, are working a new on-site energy storage system for use by the construction sector. Today’s promising lithium-ion battery (LIB) technology, currently associated with electric vehicles, cannot meet the higher energy and power demands of construction sector uses, such as hybrid (dual-power) construction vehicles and local energy storage.
Similar problems arise in applications for hybrid buses and trucks. The researchers will explore new techniques for improving LIB performance in construction applications, such as combining both battery and super-capacitor materials.
A project to reduce emissions and the carbon footprint of construction processes is being spearheaded by Sweden’s KTH Royal Institution of Technology, and supported by the Wuhan University of Technology (WHUT), China. Heavy construction projects are energy-intensive and the new research will evaluate their emission impacts. Based on this, the researchers will explore measures and policy tools to mitigate negative environmental effects.
Sustainability is not a single process, but includes all stages of economic growth and development, from the sourcing of materials, to the design of a product, its use and reuse, and its disposal. Thus, researchers at the Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, are examining how more sustainable paths in production and consumption can be determined. The research aims to develop a holistic perspective to help advanced engineering projects to innovate sustainably.
IVL, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, is looking at ways of reducing emissions generated by construction equipment by developing circular business models that could lead to a zero carbon footprint. Such models would incorporate the full life-cycle costs of construction machinery, encourage the procurement oflow-carbon machinery and promote carbon-efficient ways to use them.
Volvo CE’s CCC initiative is part of the Volvo Group’s company-wide drive to implement environmentally enhanced operations. Volvo is a recognized pioneer in sustainable production and fully on-board with global efforts to cut energy use and reduce emissions. The demand for climate action is growing and international consensus has never been so strong – as corroborated by the United Nations Climate Conference held in Lima, Peru, in December 2014.
In November 2014, Volvo’s innovative partnership with the respected environmental organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) was extended and reinforced through a new long-term Climate Savers Agreement on the reduction of emissions from products and production. The first trailblazing agreement with WWF was signed in 2010.
In addition to reducing emissions from vehicles, machines and manufacturing from 2015 to 2020, Volvo will implement various actions to achieve lower, and ultimately, zero-carbon emissions throughout the transport and construction sector.
The agreement entails the Volvo Group’s important commitments to action in areas ranging from cutting energy consumption and emissions, to public transport solutions.
The Volvo Group’s commitment to WWF in brief
- A cumulative reduction of emissions from products and production by at least 40 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020 compared to 2013
- Development of a truck prototype with substantially lower fuel consumption compared with a corresponding vehicle today
- Volvo CE to develop and demonstrate technologies with considerable efficiency improvements
- Start-up of a so-called ‘city mobility concept’ in at least five cities to find the best and most energy-efficient public transport solution
- Encouragement and help to 10 selected suppliers to improve energy efficiency
- Hosting of the Construction Climate Challenge