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Concreting Solutions – Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Concrete

Concrete is a vital part of our infrastructure, but it’s also one of the most carbon-intensive materials in the built environment, with its production, transportation, use, and disposal contributing to nearly eight percent of the world’s embodied greenhouse gas emissions. With its wide range of applications, concrete is one of the largest challenges for advancing climate-conscious innovation. But a host of new developments offer opportunities to reduce concrete’s environmental footprint, including smart material solutions like self-healing concrete and design innovations that reduce the amount of concrete¬†Townsville Concreting Solutions needed to meet a project’s specifications.

These innovations can help achieve greater whole-life performance, reducing the amount of materials and non-renewable energy used in buildings and structures, and causing less disturbance to natural habitats. They can also reduce construction time, saving money for owners and minimizing disruptions to the life of a project.

But these innovations will only have a major impact if they are adopted widely, and concrete producers, cement manufacturers, construction companies, architects, engineers, designers, contractors and others in the concrete and building industry understand how to work with them. That’s why the British Cement Association has created Concreting Solutions, a guide that highlights many of the solutions available.

The guide covers key issues and provides practical guidance for all stakeholders in the concrete and cement industry. It is aimed at students, researchers, academics and practitioners of all disciplines involved in designing, specifying and constructing with concrete.

One example of a solution to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete is self-healing bio-concrete, developed by Henk Jonkers and Eric Schlangen at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The material uses bacteria that are triggered by an added nutrient (calcium lactate) to fill cracks, closing them and re-hardening the concrete surface. Currently, the material has an initial cost that is about double that of regular concrete due to the nutrient cost but research is underway to lower the costs.

Other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete include the use of alternative cementitious materials with a lower carbon footprint, such as blended cements with slag, fly ash or natural pozzolans; geopoly concretes using recycled aggregate; and synthetic aggregates made from sequestered CO2, such as those produced by Blue Planet. Construction companies should consider the options and choose the right solution that best suits their project requirements, says Riley.

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