Two men wearing PPE on construction site for National Grid 'Can we achieve carbon-neutral construction by 2026?' story

Can we achieve carbon-neutral construction by 2026?

The path to net zero isn’t just about the tools we use, but also the infrastructure we create to get us there. Our Net Zero Construction project is helping us to deliver our vision of a clean energy future, with a commitment to being fully net zero across all new construction projects by 2025/26.

Construction plays a huge part in what we do. Building and reinforcing the network is essential to provide an infrastructure that can deliver the energy we’ll need for decades to come.

The goal of our Net Zero Construction project is to ensure that these activities are carbon neutral by 2025/26. To achieve this, we’re looking to reduce or offset all the carbon we use or generate in our construction projects.

Reducing the carbon in our construction materials

As concrete, steel and aluminium all have a high carbon cost, working groups have been set up to look at how we can decarbonise the manufacture of each of these materials and source them in the most sustainable way.

One example of this in action is the Low-Carbon Steel Working Group, which works to identify the areas where steel is being used, and the scale of its use, in order to campaign for a greener production process.

Sarah Bradford, Lead Environmental Advisor for Hitachi ABB Power Grids, said: “Now we can turn our efforts to influence the supply chain, to say can we either eliminate [or] substitute for more sustainable materials that use and emit less carbon, that's going to be better for the environment.”

Saving money with sustainability?

Sharon Benson, Working Group and Technical Lead for our Low Carbon Concrete Working Group, said: “You’ll often find that over an entire scheme the costs do reduce. So very often sustainability is cheaper. It does save money.

“As more and more contractors and designers are asking for these products and demanding low carbon, it becomes the norm and costs will go down.”

Zero carbon construction the journey so far

The past year has seen significant progress in the set-up of a clear roadmap and associated action plan to meet our Net Zero Construction targets by 2025/26.

The infographic below shows our progress, some early successes and the scale of collaboration involved.

Innovating for a net zero future

Innovation is crucial to achieving our goal of carbon-neutral construction, as well as challenging partners and suppliers in aspects such as choosing better construction materials.

Rodney Williams, Business Development Manager – New Infrastructure at National Grid, said: “We need to generate new ideas that are going to help us think differently and create solutions for this big challenge that we have ahead of us.”

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