Construction association launches climate change initiative

By |  August 3, 2021


Officials at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) outlined a series of steps public officials and the construction industry should take to address the impacts of the built environment on climate change.

The new initiative from AGC is designed to lessen the carbon footprint of the built environment while making the process of building projects more efficient.

“The construction industry is the delivery vehicle for building a greener, more climate-friendly future,” says Stephen Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “Finding a way to ensure that what our members build is more efficient will have a significant impact on climate change.”

Sandherr notes that construction activity accounts for less than 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The built environment, AGC says, accounts for about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions.

While the new initiative includes steps construction firms can take to operate more efficiently, AGC says the bulk of the effort is focused on pushing for public and private project owners to build more efficient projects and discover how they can be supported in the process.

Among the measures outlined in the new initiative is a call for a national strategy to invest in physical infrastructure that will make communities more resilient. AGC also calls for an increase in investments and funding opportunities for public and private infrastructure to build more efficient highways, water plants and other facilities.

Public officials should also invest in modernizing federal buildings to make them more efficient, according to the association. Additionally, AGC calls for expanding tax incentives and deductions to encourage the private sector to build more efficient buildings.

The group calls for expedited permitting for projects that improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

AGC officials also identified steps contractors can take to operate more efficiently. This includes encouraging equipment manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of their equipment, helping firms learn how to reduce equipment idling and sharing information about industry innovations like solar-powered jobsite trailers and energy-efficient jobsite lighting.

The new initiative was crafted by a special climate change task force for the association created earlier this year. Representatives from 18 different AGC member firms participated in the task force meetings and helped craft the recommendations outlined in the initiative.

“You can’t wish for a greener future, you have to build it,” says Les Snyder, president of Shikun & Binui America who serves as the chair of AGC’s climate change task force.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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