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Balfour Beatty goes all electric on its Edinburgh Biomes project at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

  • April 16, 2023

Jo Gilroy, Group Sustainability Director at Balfour Beatty, shares an update on the company’s ongoing journey towards the Zero Carbon Construction Site of the future at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

We have some exciting news to share. For the first time on a live Balfour Beatty site, we’ve gone all electric.

For a duration of six weeks, our team working to deliver our Edinburgh Biomes project at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh recently trialled a fleet of all electric plant, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and familiarising ourselves with the next generation of telehandlers, excavators, dumpers and wackers.

One of the key challenges that we have faced revolves around electric vehicle charging infrastructure and availability of viable charging stations.

As you can imagine, most battery-powered plant is considerably smaller than diesel plant and therefore only offers enough power for around four-to-six hours of work before it needs recharging.

In addition, as with electric cars and vans, electric plant is far more expensive to hire or purchase than traditional diesel machinery. However, reduced fuel costs and maintenance requirements can make it considerably more cost-effective in the long run. We must also consider that upfront costs are only going to reduce as the industry climbs aboard the electric bandwagon!

There is no doubt that the switch to electric will require changes to the way in which we plan and manage our sites on day-to-day basis. We’ll need to take action and ensure that we’re charging our electric plant overnight and utilising our Power Profiler tool – which recommends the most cost and carbon efficient site compound set up, wherever possible.

So undoubtedly, there are compromises and hurdles to overcome. However, clearly, one of the main advantages of electric over diesel plant is that they produce zero emissions. This is

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