Does renting equipment reduce carbon emissions?
Three specialised, independent research companies – Climate Neutral Group, CE Delft and SGS Search – have researched and calculated the CO² emissions during the full life-cycle of ten pieces of equipment representative of the portfolio of European Rental Association (ERA) members.
The research concludes that efficient use lowers the total carbon footprint of the pieces of equipment and that the rental business model stimulates efficient use. Depending on specific user practice, ERA estimates that this can lead to significant reductions, in the range of 30% and sometimes over 50%.
The research consultants have built a calculator to determine the carbon footprint of the use of construction equipment, based on various parameters. The parameters having the most influence on the carbon footprint of equipment are:
- Intensity of use – maximising the utilisation rate could reduce the amount of equipment required
- Equipment – Using the right equipment for the job
- Transportation – shorter distance and high load factors
- Maintenance – allowing extended lifetime
The carbon footprint calculator will allow everyone, rental companies and others, to input their figures and position themselves on a spectrum of efficient, versus inefficient handling of equipment. The calculator, combined with the European Rental Association Equipment Total Cost of Ownership Calculator, becomes a useful tool to support the choice for the most efficient and environmentally friendly scenario for use of equipment, often being the rental practice.
The main objective of the project was to discover the environmental impact of construction equipment through independent analysis. 10 pieces of equipment, from several manufacturers were selected to be analysed for the research to represent a wide variety of popular equipment categories, including earthmoving, material handling, access, power and tool.
This study has been managed by Climate Neutral Group (CNG) on behalf of European Rental Association to ensure the independency of the project and its outcome. Also involved were specialist research companies, SGS Search and CE Delft, who calculated the CO² emissions during the full life cycle of equipment.
Martijn In’t Veld of Climate Neutral Group said: “The rental model inherently allows for efficient use of construction equipment, which leads to lower carbon emissions.”
ERA is the representative association of the equipment rental sector in Europe, promoting the shift from the “ownership of goods” to the “access to goods”; reducing resources and making better use of equipment throughout its lifecycle.
Michel Petitjean, Secretary-General of the European Rental Association, added: “We felt it necessary to carry out an independent study that confirmed and quantified the reduction to carbon emissions that equipment rental can contribute to. The results of the study are not surprising to us and confirm that rental participates to a more circular economy.”