How drones can help the construction industry become carbon neutral

How drones can help the construction industry become carbon neutral

Drones can help the construction industry become carbon neutral and increase sustainability. Drones improve efficiency, reduce the need for transportation, and lower the carbon footprint of projects, helping the sector move towards a greener future.

Last updated: Jan 10, 2023
Published on: Jan 09, 2023

7 minute read

Drones for construction and how drones can reduce carbon emissions in the construction industry.

  • Find out how drones can help the construction industry move towards a more eco-friendly future;
  • Currently, the construction industry is a major contributor to global carbon emissions;
  • Drones can significantly reduce emissions in the sector by improving efficiency, reducing the need for transportation, limiting site visits, and lowering the carbon footprint of projects;
  • heliguy™ supplies numerous DJI drone solutions which benefit the construction industry: Find out which one is best for your jobsite.

The construction industry is a major contributor to global carbon emissions, accounting for approximately 40% of total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

As such, the industry can play a critical role in the transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future.

One technology that is helping the construction industry become more sustainable and work towards achieving net-zero carbon by 2030 is drones.

 

DJI drones for construction.

 

Drones are becoming an increasingly important tool in the construction industry. They are being used for a wide range of tasks, including site planning and management, progress monitoring, and safety inspections.

By leveraging the unique capabilities of drones for construction, professionals can optimise site layouts, improve safety, and enhance communication and collaboration - all while helping to reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects.

What Is The Current Environmental Impact Of The Construction Industry?

The construction industry can have a significant impact on the environment, both during the construction process and over the life of the built structure. Some of the ways in which the construction industry can affect the environment include:

  • Land degradation: The construction process can damage soil and cause erosion, which can lead to land degradation and reduced productivity.
  • Air pollution: The construction process can generate air pollution from the use of heavy machinery, the burning of fossil fuels, and the release of dust and other particulates.
  • Carbon emissions: The construction industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, both through the energy used in the construction process and the energy required to operate the built structure over its lifetime.

Therefore, it is important for the industry to take steps to minimise these impacts and adopt practices that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. One of these ways is by using drones.

How Can Drones Encourage More Eco-friendly Construction Practices?

Drones have the potential to significantly reduce emissions in the construction industry by improving efficiency, reducing the need for transportation, and lowering the carbon footprint of projects.

 

 

Site Planning and Management

One of the key ways that drones are helping the construction industry become more sustainable is through site planning and management. Drones can create high-resolution maps and 3D models of construction sites, which can help to optimise site layouts, conduct stockpile analysis, and reduce the need for physical site visits.

 

 

For example, a drone equipped with a LiDAR sensor can scan a construction site and create a detailed map of the terrain, which can be used to identify the best location for buildings and other infrastructure. This can help to reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects by minimising the use of fossil fuels for transportation.

Monitoring Construction Projects

In addition to site planning and management, drones are also being used to monitor construction progress and identify problems in real-time.

 

 

By using drones to regularly inspect construction sites, professionals can quickly identify problems and make adjustments as needed. This can help to reduce the need for rework and minimise the carbon footprint of construction projects.

For example, a drone equipped with a thermal camera can detect insulation problems in a building, which can be fixed before the building is completed, saving energy and reducing emissions in the long term. 

Drones can also be used to monitor construction sites and help track the progress of a project - as this set of images show, highlighting the development phases of the construction of the A45 Daventry development link road, in Northamptonshire.  

 

Using drones to monitor progress of construction projects.

  

In turn, this helps to centralise the data, reducing the need for on-site visits by architects, engineers, and other professionals. This can reduce the number of vehicle trips to the site, which can help lower emissions.

Inspections

Drones can be used to inspect buildings and other structures, which can help reduce the need for scaffolding and other specialised equipment. This can lower the carbon footprint of construction projects. 

In a recent case study, heliguy™ showed that Keltbray cut its carbon emissions by almost half, by using drones to conduct assessments of powerlines, compared to traditional methods (deploying specialist kit like an Argocat). This is shown in the table below:

 

Equipment Total Carbon Emissions (kgC)2e/per tower) 
Traditional Methods Argocat x 1

Vans x 2 and 4x4 x 1
62.6, including 19.5 from the Argocat.
Drone Inspection Using DJI M300 RTK 4x4 x 2

Drone x 1
34.2, including 0.04 from the drone.

 

The Keltbray example relates more to utilities rather than construction, but it does show how drones can help cut carbon emissions. You can read the full case study here.

Improved Safety

Another way that drones are helping the construction industry become more sustainable is by improving safety on construction sites.

Drones can be used to perform dangerous tasks, such as inspecting high-rise buildings or inspecting infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas. This can help to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries on construction sites, which can have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the need for emergency services and healthcare resources.

 

 

In addition to reducing the risk of accidents and injuries, using drones to perform dangerous tasks can also have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the need for fossil fuels.

For example, if workers need to use a cherry picker or other equipment to access a hard-to-reach area, this may require the use of a fossil fuel-powered vehicle. By using a drone instead, construction professionals can eliminate the need for these types of vehicles, which can help to reduce carbon emissions.

Overall, using drones to perform dangerous tasks can help to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries on construction sites and can have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the need for fossil fuels and other resources.

Which DJI drones are best for construction?

There are numerous DJI drones available for the construction industry.

These include:

DJI M300 RTK

Heavy-duty drone with up to 55 minutes of flight time and IP45 rating. DJI's most versatile aircraft can carry a range of sensors, including thermal, zoom, visual, LiDAR, and photogrammetry, as well as spotlights and gas detection units.

 

DJI M300 RTK for construction.

 

DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise

DJI's new compact surveying drone, with built-in dual sensors: 4/3 CMOS, 20MP camera optimised for surveying, and 12MP tele camera with 56x  hybrid zoom. Benefit from up to 45 minutes of flight time, and integrate with RTK Module to achieve centimetre-level accuracy. 

 

DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise drone for construction.

 

DJI Mavic 3 Thermal

Lightweight and foldable drone, with thermal capabilities (640 x 512 resolution). Also features 48MP wide camera and 12MP sensor with 56x hybrid zoom. Enjoy up to 45 minutes of flight time.

 

DJI Mavic 3 Thermal drone for construction.

 

DJI Mini 3 Pro

Ultra-lightweight, sub 250g drone for visual inspections and to track progress of construction projects. Key features include 34 minutes of flight time, 4K HDR video, and 48MP imagery. Sub 250g weight means that drone training (A2 CofC/GVC) is not required.

 

DJI Mini 3 Pro.

 

DJI Dock

The DJI Dock is a drone-in-a-box solution which enables 24/7 operations, autonomous missions, remote monitoring, and centralised data management and flight planning. By removing the need for human deployment or presence onsite, the DJI Dock can cut carbon emissions.

 

DJI Dock for construction.

 

Why Is It So Important To Improve Sustainability?

The industry has a critical role to play in the transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future.

 

 

There are several reasons why the construction industry needs to achieve zero carbon by 2030:

  1. Climate Change: One of the main reasons the construction industry needs to achieve zero carbon is to address the issue of climate change. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, leading to rising temperatures and a range of negative impacts, such as more frequent and severe heat waves, storms, and sea level rise. By reducing its carbon emissions, the construction industry can help to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  2. Sustainability: Achieving zero carbon is also important for the long-term sustainability of the construction industry. As the world moves towards a low-carbon future, it is likely that there will be increasing pressure on the industry to reduce its carbon footprint. By taking proactive steps to achieve zero carbon, the construction industry can position itself as a leader in sustainability and ensure that it is well-prepared for the future.
  3. Cost Savings: Achieving zero carbon can also help the construction industry save money in the long term. By using low-carbon building materials and energy-efficient technologies, construction professionals can reduce the energy costs of buildings and infrastructure, which can result in cost savings over the lifetime of these assets.

Summary

Drones have become a key tool for the construction industry. Not only do they improve safety, increase efficiency, enable continuous/regular monitoring/project tracking, and capture accurate data, they also help to reduce carbon emissions.

And DJI's product range enables operators to benefit from a variety of applications.

Contact heliguy™ to discuss adding drones to your construction project.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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