Cleaner Construction

FactSheet-CleanHospitalConstructionCampaign-Feb4Construction sites are a major concern for diesel pollution because of their ability to become hot spots during the months or even years that large-scale projects can be underway. In addition to people affected by construction at or near hospitals and universities, some of the most vulnerable populations are children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses.

In order to decrease the health impact, institutions like hospitals, universities, and even construction companies submitting bids for major contracts can adopt a Clean Diesel Construction Policy requiring the use of cleaner equipment.

Such policies typically require:

  • Newer diesel engines or retrofitted older engines (with particulate filters), which are both 90% cleaner
  • Enforcing Idling limits of 3 minutes or less on all on-site equipment
  • Locating diesel-fueled equipment, vehicles, and loading/unloading staging areas away from air intakes or operable openings of adjacent buildings (part of LEED Clean Construction pilot credit)

Compliance responsibility placed on the contractor, not the institution that hired them

For more information, read below or download our factsheet. 

Model Policies

  1. NEDC-Construction-Contract-Spec COVER PAGEUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) implemented a clean construction policy requiring all construction contractors working on UPMC grounds, buildings and facilities to use new equipment that meets the EPA’s Tier 4 emission requirements and used equipment that has been retrofitted to meet the requirements.  The policy further dictates that all contractors must provide UPMC with certification from a supplier or manufacturer demonstrating the equipment meets the emission standards. Learn more.
  2. U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) offers a pilot credit on your Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) clean construction project. Learn more.
  3. Northeast Diesel Collaborative provides a comprehensive model for clean diesel construction.  Learn more.
  4. Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus in West Harlem has made a commitment to using clean construction techniques that minimize impact on the environment and local community. Learn more.
  5. Illinois Medical District Commission resolved to adopt clean construction standards to protect public health from harmful diesel pollution. Learn more.


Implementation How-To

The following ‘How-To’ guides provide a comprehensive look at clean diesel construction in action on subjects from selecting affordable retrofit technologies, to best practices for reducing overall construction costs:

     Cover Page- BestPractices4CleanDieselConstructionAug2012         Cover Page - Mass Clean Constr Retrofit GuideCover Page - EPA Low Cost Ways to Cleaner Constr

Retrofit Manufacturers

There are manufacturers throughout the United States with tried and true methods for retrofitting diesel engines, including those on construction equipment.

  1. Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) is a non-profit association whose members include manufacturers of a variety of emission control equipment for: 1) automobiles, trucks, and buses; 2) off-road vehicles; and 3) stationary sources. For more information on MECA members who specialize in diesel retrofits, see the following link:
  2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a comprehensive list of verified retrofit technologies including the manufacturer, technology, applicability of the technology, and reduction percentage.  Find out more here: