News Headlines

  • Householders in Midlands in trial to remedy nation's draughty unblocked chimneys Energy
    Householders in Midlands in trial to remedy nation's draughty unblocked chimneys

    Across England there are 9 million fireplaces which are not permanently blocked. Often equivalent to keeping a window open at all times, an unblocked chimney can add significant cost to the typical heating bill as warm air escapes up through the chimney and into the atmosphere.

  • New rewilding network aims to boost nature on 300,000 acres Nature
    New rewilding network aims to boost nature on 300,000 acres

    A new network from charity Rewilding Britain aims to spearhead a massive and rapid rewilding across Britain, in its first three years aiming to catalyse the return of nature to 300,000 acres, an area the size of Greater Manchester or the North York Moors National Park.

  • Energy saving fridge system is cool for ice cream maker Mackie's Energy
    Energy saving fridge system is cool for ice cream maker Mackie's

    As part of a £4.5 million project, the luxury ice cream brand Mackie's of Scotland will replace existing freezing equipment at its Aberdeenshire facility with an ammonia-based, low carbon, energy efficient refrigeration system from GEA that incorporates an Absorption Chiller – an innovative solution that will help Mackie's to target ambitious CO2 reductions of 90% and energy cost savings of 70-80%.

  • Biffa's switch to rail transport of inert waste greatly reduces carbon emissions Transport
    Biffa's switch to rail transport of inert waste greatly reduces carbon emissions

    Biffa saves 6,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions transporting material by rail

    Waste firm Biffa reveals it has saved 6,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions by switching to the usage of rail links for the transportation of mostly inert waste material to its facilities. This follows the Group's strategic rail partnership with GB Railfreight to increase its capacity for transportation via rail, thereby reducing its reliance on road haulage. Since last year, the Group has transported over 600,000 tonnes of inert waste by rail.

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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 www.concretecentre.com

CONCRETE INDUSTRY SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE REPORT
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 www.sustainableconcrete.org.uk