Turner goes all in on EV tech for carbon reduction

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Dive Brief:

  • As sustainability becomes an increasingly important focus for the construction industry, New York City-based Turner Construction is in the midst of several initiatives to lower its carbon footprint and electrify its equipment, the company said in a May 16 news release.
  • The firm has set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2040 and has implemented several initiatives to get there, including steps to fully electrify its vehicle fleet by 2028. 
  • Other efforts include the use of a wide range of low-emission equipment on a data center project; testing a variety of electric and hybrid heavy equipment across different jobs; and launching zero-carbon cement on an unnamed build in Boston.

Dive Insight:

On the data center project, using electric and hybrid equipment resulted in both fuel and electricity savings, per the release. Turner saw a 27% reduction in carbon emissions, with electric temporary heat, and as much as 100% savings for all-electric equipment. In addition, employing a propane generator netted 33% in energy savings compared to diesel equipment.

“We estimate that this pilot avoided more than 100,000 gallons of diesel and 12,000 gallons of gasoline in 2023 alone,” said Mike Bahr, sustainability manager at Turner, the largest commercial contractor by revenue in the country. He said the benefits go beyond just reducing fuel consumption and emissions to creating a healthier jobsite for workers.

“The electric and hybrid equipment vibrates less than diesel and therefore is easier on operators, and tailpipe pollution on site is eliminated or reduced which is a great benefit to worker health,” Bahr said. 

Last year, the firm announced it used a Volvo EC 230 electric excavator on a light manufacturing reconfiguration project for semiconductor giant Applied Materials in Northern California, along with a Moxion battery energy storage solution to ensure sufficient power on the job. 

On the vehicle front, Turner has deployed an all-electric track skid steer on the Gateway Project at the University of California-Berkeley, and recently took delivery of ten all-electric pickup trucks in Alabama, per the release, toward its 2028 fleet goal.

“The company is working with multiple EV manufacturers to update its fleet nationwide,” said Emily Rogers, Turner’s business development manager.

Turner isn’t the only major builder testing out electrification. In February, Skanska rolled out an electric compactor. It deployed Windhagen, Germany-based Wirtgen Group’s HAMM HD 12e VV on Los Angeles Metro’s $9.5 billion Purple (D Line) Extension Transit project.

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