Construction workers risk their lives and chronic long-term lung conditions with exposure to dust which is a silent and often invisible killer.
10 compelling reasons vacuum excavators are better for the environment.
9th Oct 2020
The benefits of vacuum excavation in terms of speed, safety and strike avoidance are increasingly well-known. What are perhaps less understood are the advantages vac ex delivers in terms of sustainability and the environment.
Here are ten reasons showing why clients are choosing vac ex to help reduce their carbon footprint:
1. Efficiency and economy
A vacuum excavator out-performs traditional digging methods in all but the very smallest scenarios. That means achieving the same results in less time with fewer lorries and fewer pieces of heavy equipment on site. The planet benefits, and it means staying in line with the UK Government’s strategy to halve construction’s carbon emissions by 2025.
Globally the construction industry generates 35 per cent of energy related CO2 emissions.
The construction leadership council has set up the construct zero carbon change programme action plan to help reduce carbon emissions within the industry.
Plans include optimising the use of modern methods of construction and reducing waste and transport to sites both of which can be improved with the wider adoption of vacuum excavation.
2. Less dust with a vac ex
Vacuum excavation creates far less dust than other methods – whatever the material being excavated.
Moving spoil around on open-top vehicles such as dumpers, excavators and lorries, or on conveyor belts, inevitably results in huge quantities of dust being released into the air.
Vacuum excavation sucks all the spoil and dust directly from the excavation into the vacuum excavator itself, which is better for the environment, the general public and site workers.
Hiring a vacuum excavator is a quick and easy way to help your site conform with the HSE’s current Workright campaign, cracking down on dust on site to reduce respiratory risks to workers.
3. Size does matter
Using a vacuum excavator can reduce the size of excavations by up to a third in comparison with traditional methods such as a mini digger, using less energy and creating a much smaller impact on the wider site and off-site environment.
Smaller excavations as a result of using a suction excavator instead of traditional methods, lead to the knock-on effect of smaller construction sites altogether, as reported by VAC UK.
Both pedestrian and road traffic can flow more freely, keeping everyone from commuters to neighbouring households and businesses happy.
Add on the associated carbon savings of reduced idling vehicle traffic, and the environmental benefits are palpable.
4. Less spoil
Suction excavation is an extremely efficient method, targeting the exact areas needed and reducing spoil to the minimum necessary.
Producing less spoil overall means that there is less that needs to be tipped or recycled, providing both and environmental and cost savings to any project.
5. Reduced risk of contamination with vacuum excavation
Traditional excavation methods are unavoidably messy. By contrast, vacuum excavators suck all spoil and dust away immediately and contain them within the vacuum excavator.
So no excess spoil is left lying around with the potential to contaminate surface water or drains.
By storing the excavated dirt in the vac ex tank the team keeps the work site clean and safely transfers the soil without the risk of it falling off the vehicle into areas where it should not be.
6. Grab loader efficiency improved with high tip vac ex
Having a grab loader hanging around site longer than necessary involves many potential hazards, from disrupting traffic to causing damage to third parties.
Vacuum excavation makes it easy to use grab loaders far more efficiently, keeping any negative effects to an absolute minimum.
Vacuum Excavators can tip to the left or the right and can even tip into a passing grab wagon with the hi tip option. This ensures that the vacuum excavator can be kept in the digging zone for longer increasing productivity and reducing the carbon footprint further.
7. Good for flora and fauna
Traditional excavation methods often cause irreparable damage to the roots of trees and shrubs, destroying the natural environment around an excavation site. The precision and accuracy of vacuum excavation allows the removal of ground between trees and shrubs with minimal disruption, keeping your sites green on every level.
VAC UK were called out to a school in recently where the client was looking to do a service diversion and reroute the electric and gas pipes whilst building an extension to the school.
Whilst doing this they did not want to damage the tree routes of a large oak tree that was the pride and joy of the community and on the school grounds.
They decided to call to hire a vac ex to suck all the earth around the tree roots without damaging the actual tree.
The vac ex will suck up all the earth around the tree routes but not actually damage the roots exactly in the same way that it can dig the earth around utility cables without damaging the services.
To do this the specially trained operator uses a special air spade which blows all the earth from around the roots so that the earth can be vacuumed without damaging the tree roots.
Vac Ex’s can also be used to expose all the roots around the tree if a tree needs to be moved.
It is possible to expose all the roots and then carry the tree on a crane or HIAB unto a lorry so it can be transported and replanted in another location.
Vac Ex companies sometimes carries out this work for private clients and horticultural companies who have old expensive and sensitive trees that need moving to another location.
8. Vacuum Excavation hoses allow vac ex’s to access hard to access sites without causing unnecessary disturbance to local wildlife.
Vacuum excavators are ideally suited to hard-to-access sites. Instead of performing extra demolition works to bring heavy plant close to the excavation site – increasing the carbon footprint and the time and cost of a project – a vac ex fitted with a long hose can excavate remotely.
Rather than excavators and dumpers crossing green fields and upsetting the local wildlife, a vac ex can be parked safely away from the excavation zone and a hose of up to 150m metres can run to the digging zone to excavate the material.
9 Less chance of water table contamination
With traditional digging techniques, it is harder to work out the position of underground utilities. Locating the existing pipework is not guaranteed.
If an underground sewerage or gas pipe is damaged, there is a strong possibility of contaminating the local underground water network.
The precise digging technique reduces the risk of damaging existing utilities and causing contamination of the water resources.
10. Reduced air pollution
The latest vacuum excavators conform to the new Euro 6 standards, reducing pollution and smoothing the way if you’re working within Ultra Low Emission or Clean Air Zones.
Working with a vacuum excavator hire company which has a new fleet complying with the latest emission standards will pay a clear air quality dividend.
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