5 Key Benefits that Reduce GHGs from our Built Environment
Stands the test of time
Concrete structures last for centuries and concrete pavements for decades, reducing the environmental impacts of repair and replacement. What’s more, over the lifetime of a structure or pavement, cement within the concrete reacts with CO2 in the air, reabsorbing part of the CO2 emitted during production.
Innovations like Portland-limestone cement, also known as Contempra, reduces GHGs from concrete, carbon capture and utilization technologies, which could transform concrete into a carbon sink, and ultra-high-performance concrete, which makes for strong structures using less concrete, are part of the solution for a low carbon, sustainable future.
Energy Efficient Buildings
Operational energy use accounts for some 90% of a building’s GHGs. Concrete enables energy efficiency improvements of more than 60% over the National Model Energy Code for Buildings when paired with smart design and technologies.
Produced Locally, Recyclable
Concrete is typically manufactured within 160 km of a project site, using local resources. This greatly reduces shipping-related GHGs. And concrete is 100% recyclable.
Lower Carbon Roads
Concrete roads can save up to 12,000 metric tonnes of GHGs per lane-kilometer over a 50-year period. That’s like avoiding the consumption of 5 million litres of gas.
Carbon Accounting Gaps in the Built Environment
A new peer-reviewed study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) says the main tool government and industry use to measure the carbon footprints of homes and workplaces has major gaps. The study, Emission Omissions: Carbon accounting gaps in the built environment, identified emission omissions for concrete, wood and steel building products. However, it singled out forestry products for immediate attention, finding up to 72% of the carbon emissions from wood products may not be counted and that when these emissions are taken into account, concrete’s embodied carbon footprint could be up to 6% less intensive than that of wood products.
LEED Platinum Manitoba Hydro Place: Built for Energy Efficiency
Mark Pauls, Building Energy Management Engineer for Manitoba Hydro Place, discusses the building’s energy-efficient design and concrete’s fundamental contribution to its performance.