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Paper eres2017_232:
Urban planners’ control over earthworks can result in remarkable greenhouse gas reduction

id eres2017_232
authors Säynäjoki, Eeva; Seppo Junnila
year 2017
title Urban planners’ control over earthworks can result in remarkable greenhouse gas reduction
source 24th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference in Delft, Netherlands
summary Urban planners are in a unique position to steer and regulate urban regeneration. Given the massive material flows of new construction, it seems evident that the environmental objectives of urban planning should target the immediate development phase as well as the future use phase of the built environment. Nevertheless, the potential of urban planning to contribute to mitigation of climate change is often only considered to lie in the use phase. Densification, improved public transportation infrastructure and new energy efficient buildings are seen to be the core elements of sustainable urban development. However, the gains attributed to reductions in transport and housing emissions contribute to climate change mitigation only after the demerits of new construction are redeemed.Within the current time frame of climate change mitigation targets, the negative effect of the immediate emissions from construction becomes extremely relevant. Multiple studies have stressed the rising importance of the construction phase in a building’s or residential area’s life cycle GHG emissions. In addition to emissions from aboveground construction, earthworks account for a considerable amount of GHG emissions. In Finland, the yearly consumption of natural mineral aggregates is approximately 100 million tonnes, and local depletion of materials gradually lengthens the transport distances. Surpluses of soil and blasted rocks are more often seen as being troublesome to discard as opposed to being useful resource. The purpose of this study was to investigate if reducing the GHG emissions of earthworks could be a relevant part of sustainable urban planning.A single case study was conducted to assess the magnitude of GHG reduction that can be achieved by an urban planner’s control over earthworks. The case area was a 120 hectare wide residential development for 5,000 inhabitants, located in the Northwest corner of Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The case study covered three planning solutions that intended to reduce the transportation of rock and soil materials: (1) local use of blasted stone, (2) a hill made of surplus clay, and (3) minimal refurbishment of a pond. The three planning solutions reduced the GHG emissions of earthworks by 2,360 tonnes. In addition, particle emissions were reduced by 420 kg. The immediate GHG emissions savings were equivalent to 250 inhabitants giving up use of private vehicles for 10 years.
keywords urban planning; environmental sustainability; GHG emissions; earthworks; case study
series ERES:conference
type paper session
discussion No discussions. Post discussion ...
session Sustainable Real Estate
last changed 2017/11/18 16:20
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