Construction Research Congress 2022

Simplified Emissions Measurement System for Construction Equipment


To achieve a green transition in construction, all parts of the building lifecycle should be examined for potential emission reductions. Historically, much effort has been placed on operational energy of facilities. Recently, the focus has been supplemented with an embodied energy focus, looking at the production of materials and the circular economy aspect of reuse and recycling. However, the construction process itself has, until now, attained little focus in the green transition. At the same time, construction is inefficient and wasteful, as research shows that only 33% of working time is value-adding, resulting in longer construction duration. Longer duration requires more operation of machines, transportation, and daily running of construction sites. These non-value-adding operations require energy and emit unnecessary emissions. Consequently, today’s tacit acceptance of time and cost overruns is effectively the same as an industry’s acceptance of unnecessarily large emissions. To reduce construction emissions from equipment-related operations, a closer to real-time monitoring of construction equipment’s efficiency and their emissions is needed. This research’s vision aims to minimize emissions by optimizing the site layout and improving planning, hence reducing construction machine working hours. Our method incorporates real-time sensory data (mainly position, NOx, and particle emissions from internal combustion engines) and information modeling to achieve this novel agenda. This paper presents a small-scale sensor technology called SEMS (Simplified Emissions Measurement System) capable of rapidly measuring such emission data. Preliminary findings from experimental testing identify potentials and future methodological considerations how such data can be applied in information management and decision making.