Climate-smart planning can reduce almost a third of the street renovation's emissions

News 2021-04-12 at 9:04
© Helsingin kaupunki

The City of Helsinki works determinedly to decrease the emissions of infrastructure construction and to promote circular economy in infrastructure projects. Planning, technical solutions and material choices have significant impact on how much emissions the construction work produces. New innovations in materials or machinery, for example, can reduce emissions in the future roadworks.

The potential emissions of the utilising recycled materials and low-emission construction machinery were examined in the planning of Hämeentie street renovation located in Arabia district. Conventional construction practices were compared with resource-wise alternatives, taking into account city’s development work in coordinating landmasses, recycling paving stones and utilizing cycled planting matter. Additionally, the study provided new information on the environmental impacts of separating waste water and storm waters, temporary traffic arrangements during the project and the impact of the planning solutions on the future maintenance emissions.

Resource-smart choices bring emission cuts and lower prices

By following the recommendations of the resource-smart solutions for the Hämeentie street renovation, the City of Helsinki can save an estimated 308,000 kg of CO2 e. This option cuts the emissions by about 27% compared to the total emissions of regular building sites. Additionally, this would total more than one third in cost savings, totalling EUR 910,000, which can be achieved through recycling and reusing materials, in particular.

The resource-smart review showed that utilisation of recycled materials, mass coordination, reserving interim storage places and the energy source of work machinery need to be linked both to the planning and then, later, to the project’s procurement process. Well planned is half done, and when the planning takes into account the climate impact, the characteristics of the site and possible challenges, then also the construction work will likely be carried out in a climate-smart manner.

The review of a resource-smart alternative produced information about the climate impacts and costs of the planned measures. Its aim was to further promote circular construction in infrastructure construction.

“In the past, the city has calculated for example the climate impact of the renovation of Iso Roobertinkatu pedestrian street. With Hämeentie's resource-smart review, we will be able to integrate the consideration of climate impacts more closely into the city's infrastructure construction already from the planning stage. As knowledge accumulates, it can be applied more widely and powerfully”, says Heidi Huvila, environmental specialist from the City of Helsinki.

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