Latest CO2e values for concrete

As part of the Concrete Industry Sustainable Construction Strategy our commitment is to provide the most transparent life cycle assessment data which is compliant with the developing codes and standards. This is reflected in the recent update by the cement sector of “Embodied CO2e of UK cement, additions and cementitious material”. This replaces the previous version “Embodied CO2 of factory-made cements and combinations” which was published in February 2009.

The embodied figure for CEM 1 in the updated information shows an 18% reduction in emissions compared to the previous information. This reduction does not take into consideration the increased scope that has now been included under the new methodology. The updated methodology we believe reflects the best available international guidance.

The current information maintains the cradle to gate boundaries so does not currently include any benefit (in terms of CO2 reduction) from the recarbonation of the cement during the lifecycle of concrete.

Where good quality transport information has been available this has been included in order to provide the best information available and to support users in calculating the impact of their products.

Using the data in carbon calculations

The previous factsheet underpinned the data for cement and concrete in the ICE databases developed by the University of Bath. Since that time PAS 2050 has become recognised and revised as a reference point for greenhouse gas emissions of products and services in the UK. The recent 2011 revision also recognises the prominence of the EPD methodology EN 15804 for construction products, published 2012. The PAS 2050 document has been considered in ISO 14067 which is the international standard for Green House Gas emissions of products and services but this is still in the draft stages of development.

In producing this updated information the principles of all the relevant codes and standards have been considered and where technically possible have been included in the current methodology. A key change is the move to a fundamental assessment of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) rather than only CO2 emissions. While this change in itself does not represent a significant change in the overall emissions, it has provided the opportunity to revisit and challenge the methodology in all the non-regulated contributions to the overall emissions. Despite the challenging economic conditions, the cement sector has continued its continuous programme of emission improvements. The update has also been able to include the production improvement established over the period from 2007 to 2010.