Zero Emissions Construction Sites Land in Denmark


Earlier last week, Denmark’s first Zero Emission Construction Site kicked-off in the heart of the Danish capital. The works, that have postponed several times due to Covid-19 will now run until April 2021. The aim is to convert a car park into a greener space, installing benches, bike parking facilities and greenery. What a perfect pilot project to test out a zero emissions construction site!

The city budget for 2020 had already approved “to allocate funds for the conversion of the municipality’s own vehicles and work machines fossil and emission-free alternatives. In addition, funds are allocated to a pilot project with stricter procurement requirements for construction projects using fossil or emission-free workstations”.

The city administration has agreed to support the development in the market towards  phasing out fossil fuels in construction projects in Copenhagen, where the municipality intended to facilitate the creation of a cooperation forum. In 2019, Bellona Europa joined the first European Market Dialogue aimed at EU stakeholders, during the C40 Mayor’s Summit, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of turning the market towards a greener and electrified direction. From now on Copenhagen will focus on fostering partnerships with market players and organisations, throughout Denmark, the Nordic countries, Europe and in the global urban cooperation C40 organisation itself.

More from the Nordics

The city of Copenhagen participates to the European Commission project Big Buyers Initiative, where Bellona takes part as an expert. Our head office in Oslo has been crucial in setting the wheel in motion for the world’s first ever Zero Emission Construction Site in Oslo in September 2019. Recently the city of Oslo has stated that “electric excavators may become the norm’’. Christian Eriksen, Head of Research at The Bellona foundation has noted how, since almost 10,000 litres of diesel are used weekly in construction sites globally, switching towards full electric construction machinery for all construction sites could enormously benefit cities in reducing air pollution and the climate in reducing CO2 emissions.


When in Brussels?

The city of Brussels is one of the members of the initiative, but until now, no pilot project has been set. Yearly, over 50 construction sites can be found scattered across the nineteen municipalities of the Belgian capital.  So far, only Nordic cities have made efforts to lower CO2 emissions in the construction sector by changing public procurement and standards.

Testing this out in the heart of the European Union could give a further push to European manufacturers and spread the concept of electrification way beyond urban public mobility.

Recently in a tweet, Pascal Smet, Secretary of State of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Urbanism and Heritage, shared a call for projects for the renovation work in one of the squares in the Ixelles Municipality. As he states: “Brussels residents need public spaces where they can meet or let the children play”. To build these new greener public spaces, Bellona Europa calls for – if not challenges – this transformation to be at 360 degrees, by setting up the first zero emission construction site in the Belgian Capital.

Our work in Brussels and in Europe continues now online, as we will bring the conversation onwards through the OPP Ideas Festival on the 9th of September. In the panel “ Building beyond buildings: the Renovation Wave and its role towards a greener European construction sector”, we will discuss with members of the industry, European Commission and Academia, the need of a renovation wave focused as well in greening public procurement and bringing electrification in the construction machinery industry.