SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Support Clean Construction Policies


Constructing a healther future: Support Clean Construction

ccequipment.jpgHave you ever noticed the thick smoke billowing from an older bus or tractor trailer, or passed near a construction zone and been faced with a huge whiff of dirty exhaust?

Diesel exhaust contains over 450 different compounds, including dozens of known or suspected carcinogens. Diesel emissions are also a significant contributor to climate change, since they are a major source of black carbon, a highly potent climate-warming agent.

Fortunately, advances in emissions reduction technology mean that new heavy diesels are over 90% cleaner than they were just a few years ago, but the trucks and construction equipment used on construction projects, whether making repairs to roads, building a new wing on a hospital or renovating a university, may be compromising the health of the campus, surrounding community, and the environment if they fail to meet modern standards.

Solution: Responsible institutions can help to combat this problem by ensuring that equipment used in construction projects meets modern emissions standards. Many insititutions and municipalities are recognizing that adopting a Clean Construction policy is an important step in protecting the campus and surrounding community, as well as a key component of campus sustainability planning (see below for examples).

The Return on Investment: Estimates show that for every dollar spent on reducing particulate matter pollution from diesel engines, $12 would be avoided in health damages. Keybridge Associates estimates that every $1B investment in clean diesel technology would yield 19,000 jobs.

Action: Ask your local municipality, university or hospital to adopt a Clean Construction Policy.

Clean Construction in the States

Some examples of state and local initiatives are as follows:

State and local policymakers have been addressing the issue for over a decade. After the tragedy of 9/11, modern pollution control equipment was required on construction equipment used in the cleanup of Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. Next door in New Jersey, Governor Christie recently signed an executive order to implement a clean construction pilot program using state funds. Similarly, clean construction has been picked up by cities such as Pittsburgh, PA, Chicago, IL and Providence, RI, which passed local ordinances that require clean construction for local projects. The time is ripe to reap the benefits of years of thinking about how a smart solution can work.


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