Document Type

Article

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

Environmental sciences, Construction engineering, Municipal and structural engineering, Materials engineering, Energy and fuels

Publication Details

Building and Environment, Volume 45, Issue 3, Pages 784-791, ISSN 0360-1323, DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2009.08.022.

Abstract

Ireland is committed to limiting its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 113% of 1990 levels over the period 2008-12 and to 84% of 2005 levels by 2020 under the Kyoto Agreement and the EU’s ’20 20’ by 2020 respectively. National policies have targeted many industry sectors but have failed to directly tackle GHG emissions associated with construction activity. This paper estimates energy and GHG emissions intensities of the Irish construction sector and subsectors and estimates its contribution to Irish national emissions. This information is used to identify and assess the impacts of policy measures which would result in a reduction in emissions from the sector in a cost-effective manner. Energy and emissions intensities are estimated using input-output analysis techniques applied to Irish construction sector. In 2005 the Irish construction sector was responsible for the emission of 13.81mtCO2eq, comprising 2.37mt (17%) of direct on-site emissions, 5.69mt (41%) upstream indirect domestic emissions and 5.75mt (42%) upstream indirect emissions outside the state. Domestically arising direct and indirect emissions accounted for 3.44% and 8.26% of national emissions respectively. Approximately three-quarters of construction sector emissions were the result of activities relating to NACE 45.2 ‘civil and structural construction works, etc’. Given the potential importance of the construction sector to national emissions, there is scope for the implementation of policies which specifically target it. Two such policies are proposed: direct emissions mitigation through a construction EcoDriving initiative; and the provision of information to allow the design and specification of low-emissions materials.