Focusing on the whole life cycle key to achieving carbon reductions

Created: September 4, 2019. Updated: September 5, 2019.

Already today, with existing technology and materials, it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions from infrastructure and housing projects by up to 50 per cent. However, everyone in the value chain needs to contribute their share, particular in the early phases.

In recent years, Maria Brogren, Director, Sustainability & Innovation, WSP Sweden, has seen a shift in mentality within the construction industry.

“Up until five years ago the question of CO2 emissions was mainly restricted to the question of energy efficiency in buildings. Which energy was being used and how could it be reduced? But then we started to ask ourselves: is this really the biggest question? Shouldn’t we look at the whole life cycle?”

As a leading consultancy firm within the construction industry, WSP quickly realized that significant amounts of CO2 could be reduced in the early planning stages of construction projects, particularly when it comes to the production of materials, transportation and processes on the construction site.

“There have been a number of studies that show that we can decrease carbon dioxide emissions from infrastructure and housing projects by up to 50 per cent with the knowledge we already have and with materials that already exist,” explains Maria Brogren. “By influencing the early stages of a construction project, such as the planning phase and design phase, you can set the whole agenda for the project and have a large influence on the CO2 emissions for the whole life cycle.”

To achieve these savings, Maria Brogen also believes it is important that everyone along the value chain not only contribute their fair share, but also put pressure on others too.

“At WSP, we have both an opportunity and an obligation to provide our clients with the best solutions for decreasing CO2 emission in their projects.”


The episode is also released on CCC YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The Construction Climate Talks series by the Construction Climate Challenge initiative highlights some of the most important issues in climate sustainability today. See all the previous episodes here:

The Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) is an initiative hosted by Volvo Construction Equipment to promote sustainability throughout the entire construction industry value chain and provide funding for environmental research. The Construction Climate Challenge is a part of the Volvo CE commitment to WWF’s Climate Savers Program. Volvo Construction Equipment is a Corporate Advisory Board member of the World Green Building Council.

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