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MPA - the Concrete Centre

Environment Times is raising money for the homeless this winter by creating a 'virtual ecohouse'. MPA The concrete Centre is one of the donors. They write: Concrete's flexibility offers many opportunities for designers to influence the environmental, economic and social credentials of their projects, including performance credentials such as fire, durability, acoustics and adaptability.

v ecohouse concrete centreThis publication, Specifying Sustainable Concrete, is intended to assist designers in optimising the sustainable credentials of concrete through specification.

This guide focuses on concrete, its constituent materials including admixtures and how the variation of the specification can influence the sustainability performance of the concrete. Sustainable credentials with the greatest scope for
influence through specification include: the performance of fresh and hardenedconcrete (e.g. strength gain, durability); embodied CO2 (ECO2); CO2 associated with transportation; responsible sourcing or otherwise; and use of recycled or secondary materials.

Concrete is a versatile and natural material and designers can use it efficiently to deliver structure and other functions of integrated designs. In addition, concrete and its constituents have strong sustainability credentials; for example, they are local to the UK and many have been certificated to the highest responsible sourcing standards.

These factors are resulting in designers choosing concrete on sustainability grounds alone.

Sustainability is now widely accepted as comprising economic, social and environmental issues. Many assessment tools and methodologies have been
developed to provide measures and comparison tools. The shortcoming of generalised tools is that - by definition - they are general, and specific geographical or project constraints are not properly accounted for.

A challenge for all assessments is weighting the different factors which often have different units of measurement; for example, how does one compare biodiversity, health and safety and transportation CO2 emissions? Therefore it is accepted good practice for designers to not simply follow a tick box mentality in their use of assessment tools but to understand the factors and take a holistic and whole-life view of sustainability when considering their project.

Publication Specifying Sustainable Concrete available at

The UK concrete industry has a vision to be recognised as a leader in sustainable construction, by taking a dynamic role in delivering a sustainable, low carbon built environment in a socially, environmentally and economically responsible manner.

We know that to achieve a sustainable built environment we need to collaborate and work in partnership. The strategic objectives of the Concrete Industry Sustainable Construction Strategy reflect this priority - to contribute to construction industry and government initiatives, engage with the broader
supply chain to inform good practice and communicate with clients to enable design and construction with concrete.

This report provides an annual update from the UK concrete industry and is a detailed record of progress against our strategic commitments and performance indicators. We also have a website where you can find out more