In 2019, Oslo adopted a new “zero emission” policy to curb the pollution traditionally belched out by big construction machinery at the city’s many work sites. Electric excavators, saws and other plug-in equipment is now on the job, alongside traditional machinery designed to use diesel but now refitted with batteries. Fossil-fueled equipment is allowed only when a low-emission alternative is not available. The initiative has inspired manufacturers to develop new designs, ensuring that an increasing variety of electric-based construction vehicles will be available in the future.
Previously, construction equipment created 30% of Oslo’s traffic emissions. Officials say the new initiative saves 35,000 liters of diesel fuel and reduces green house gasses by 99% per construction site. Because Norway generates nearly all its electricity from hydropower, even the electricity used to power the equipment comes from a ‘green’ source. The electric trucks and other equipment are much quieter than their diesel counterparts, reducing noise pollution and increasing the quality of life for anyone living or working near by.
Currently, four kindergartens and two sports arenas are being built as “zero emission” work sites. Not all projects in Oslo must follow the new policy: the guidelines for private or state-owned sites are much less stringent, and only one in five construction projects is city owned. However, city leaders believe controlling emissions at those sites is an important step toward keeping their city, and the world, green.