Energy use and sustainability advice

How contractors can employ best practice and ensure the process of construction or deconstruction is made more sustainable.

Climate change is happening, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the stress that people are putting on the natural environment including air, land and water, must not continue. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is working towards limiting environmental impact on the region and making the borough more sustainable, demonstrated (among other initiatives) by implementing a Climate Change Strategy, and strongly encourages other parties to do the same. Innovation and best practice in this area are fully supported by the Council.

Contractors should look for new techniques to limit their impacts on the environment and make the process of construction or deconstruction more sustainable. The impact of such techniques can be demonstrated by life cycle analyses for materials/processes or carbon footprinting and the implementation of a Site Environmental Management Plan (SEMP).

Legislation and best practice


Best practice

The above information contains links to external websites. We will do our best to maintain these links but apologise if any of them become broken. Please email [email protected] if you notice any that do not work and we will update them.

Steps builders should take

Construction and deconstruction require a huge amount of energy and fuels and have a direct and indirect contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Contractors should always consider efficient use of energy and fuels in all aspects of development along with the re-use of any excavated material – if appropriate. The Mayor of London’s draft London Plan has set a target to re-use 80 per cent of construction and demolition waste and 60 per cent of that is to be re-used as aggregates in London by 2011.

If you have packaging materials, these must be disposed of appropriately. Packaging materials might include pallets, plastic wrapping, barrels and containers. Since some manufacturing companies have to recycle and recover packaging waste under the Producer Responsibility Obligation (Packaging Waste) 2005 it is recommended that the contractor uses a supplier that is prepared to take back empty containers and boxes for re-use. Developers can potentially reduce waste disposal costs by doing this.

Energy and procurementRe-use and recyclingWater consumption
Ensure good housekeeping practices (switch off plant not in use; don't leave vehicles idling; site lighting used only when necessary etc)Recycle or re-use materials on site wherever possibleEnsure there is no wastage or unnecessary use of water
Sign up to the Mayor of London's Green Procurement CodeAllocate storage space for reusable materialsMonitor taps and valves to ensure they are closed when not needed
Use environmentally preferable goods and materials, such as A-rated equipment and vehicles with high Euro Standards

Avoid damaging materials on delivery by using a walled laid out storage and off loading area

Avoid over-ordering materials

Check hoses and pipe work for leaks regularly

Provide containers to collect water for washing tools and other items where possible

Use energy efficient bulbs or solar powered lightingAudit and monitor waste management practicesConsider rainwater harvesting and grey water storage from the start
Use existing feeds for power to prevent the need for generators, and consider purchasing electricity from sustainable sourcesBuilding/ road waste such as concrete should be crushed (subject to obtaining the appropriate licence) and reused for footpaths or hard standings 
Use gas or electric powered plant instead of diesel or petrol where possibleRecycle municipal waste from temporary welfare accommodation on site 
 Segregate materials for recycling such as timber, metal components and cardboard wrapping 
 Use prefabrication if feasible 
 Any vegetation removed should be composted 
 Suitable inert spoil should be stockpiled (and covered) for reuse in landscaping or general fill once confirmed as uncontaminated (top soil can also be salvaged and reused if 'clean') 
 Use a supplier that takes back packaging 


Advice for residents

If you are interested in climate change and sustainability and ideas for what you can do to improve the environment, then please visit our climate change pages or contact [email protected]

To find out what the Council is doing to try to improve air quality, please read our air quality action plan [PDF] (file size 713Kb) or email [email protected]

Last updated: 29 November 2019