SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Clean Construction Policies


Diesel retrofits at New York WTC clean up

The Problem: Diesel pollution from all sectors is associated with numerous adverse health effects including lung cancer, asthma attacks, heart attacks, stroke, and an estimated 21,000 premature deaths each year in the United States. Pollution from construction equipment poses a serious threat to communities and project workers alike. Heavy construction equipment operators face an increased risk of lung disease from their exposure to diesel exhaust. The black carbon soot in diesel exhaust is also recognized as a potent global warming agent, approximately 200 times more potent than the equivalent amount of CO2 over a 20-year period.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over 37% of land-based particulate matter comes from construction equipment. Nationwide, there are over 2 million pieces of construction equipment and most lack modern pollution controls.

Pollution from diesel equipment has the potential to affect citizens in all parts of the country. Over 88 million Americans live in counties that violate federal health standards for particulate pollution.

The Solution: Local adoption of Clean Construction policies-by municipalities, universities, medical centers/hospitals, etc. Clean construction policies include performance standards (and funding) that require diesel vehicles and equipment to meet defined emissions standards. For existing diesel engines, those built prior to the implementation of EPA’s federal diesel emission standards, this would include the installation of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) that can eliminate over 90 percent of the dangerous particulate pollution from a diesel engine.

For more, check out our Take Action Page.