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11 November 2011

Concrete Sustainability Performance report

First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com

A new report claims that the concrete industry continues to lead other construction material sectors in realising its vision to be recognised as being at the forefront in sustainable construction.

It has recently published its latest annual Concrete Sustainability Performance report which sets out the progress made on a wide range of sustainability targets during 2010.

This is the fourth report since the 2008 agreement between nine sectors within the concrete industry and their signing-up to a pan-industry sustainability strategy.

It reports on 2010 data received from companies that supply an estimated 80% of all concrete used in the UK.

For the first time data from the reinforcement sector has been integrated into the reported figures to provide information for both concrete and reinforced concrete.

Key findings of the new report include the fact that 88% of concrete production is responsibly sourced to the BRE-developed responsible sourcing standard BES 6001-Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products. This, says the report, makes concrete the leading responsibly sourced construction material.

The concrete industry was the first industry to link its sustainable construction strategy to BES 6001 in order to demonstrate its sustainability credentials and allow designers and specifies the ability to easily source accredited materials and gain maximum credits in sustainability assessment tools such as the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM.

The industry’s commitment to sustainability is not only demonstrated by its sign-up to BES 6001. The industry has made good progress towards its 2012 target of 85% of production sites having UKAS certified Environmental Management Systems (EMS). In 2010, 84.8% of sites were so certified.

EMS are the cornerstone of a sustainability strategy and a key element in the certification to responsible sourcing schemes as they help to deliver performance improvements at each site and so drive forward the performance of the industry as a whole.

Other achievements highlighted by the report include a 16.3% reduction in CO2 emissions for a standardised concrete mix compared to the 1990 baseline figure. The cement sector has also made significant investments to deliver sustainable environmental improvements and reduce its emissions.

Compared to the 1998 baseline, the 2010 figures show a 57% reduction in NOx emissions; an 83% reduction in dust emissions and an 87% reduction in SOx emissions.

In terms of energy efficiency, the cement sector is responsible for almost 74% of the energy used in concrete manufacture. The cement sector and ground granulated blast furnace slag sectors have committed to government voluntary climate change agreements (CCA). These commit the sectors to major energy reduction programmes.

The cement sector has improved its CCA performance by 44.8% between 1990 and 2010, far exceeding the original target of 30%. The ground granulated blast furnace slag sector has achieved a 16% energy reduction between 1999 and 2010.

Major progress has been made by the concrete industry in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. The 2010 figures show a 60% reduction compared to the 2008 baseline. This is significantly ahead of the set 15% reduction target. A good example of the progress being made across the industry is the precast sector. In 2008 waste sent to landfill by this sector was 5.61kg/tonne. In 2010 it was reduced to 2kg/tonne.

The overall concrete industry achievement in reducing waste has more than doubled the net waste ratio. The concrete industry is a net user of waste and continues to increase its consumption. Currently, it now uses almost 47 times more waste, by-products and secondary materials from other industries than the waste it sends to landfill.

Andy Spencer, chairman of the Sustainable Concrete Forum said: “The concrete industry should be proud of its progress to date. It is developing its strategy and working practices even further to facilitate continuous improvement. This will ensure that the concrete industry is best placed to support the government and client aspiration towards achieving sustainable design and construction of the built environment.”

A copy of The Concrete Industry Sustainability Performance Report is available at: www.sustainableconcrete.org.uk.

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