At the end of 2012 the Dutch government concluded a ‘Green Deal’ to improve the sustainability of the concrete supply chain with the organisation MVO Netwerk Beton, made up of 21 companies and 6 trade associations involved in the chain. The aim is to achieve a 100% sustainable concrete chain in 2050, with initial tangible steps being taken in the short term. In the context of this Green Deal the Directorate-General for Public Works & Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) and MVO Netwerk Beton asked CE Delft to analyse the environmental footprint of concrete use by the Dutch construction industry, including an analysis of a number of improvement options.
In 2010 14 million m3 of concrete was used in Dutch construction and around 550 kt of reinforcement steel. From cradle to grave this concrete use had a climate impact of 3.5 Mt CO2 (1.7% of Dutch national emissions).
The analysis also encompassed the carbon emissions of energy consumption during the use phase of homes and offices in 2010. Restricting ourselves to the energy used for space heating in homes built in 2010, under the current EPC standard (*) (0.8) the climate impact of concrete use in homes is estimated to be approximately the same as that of heating a home for five years. Over a lifespan of 50 years, then, it takes roughly ten times as much energy to heat a home built in 2010 as it does to produce the reinforced concrete used to build it.
The following improvement options are discussed:
While conducting the analysis a number of issues were noted that can lead to improvements in this analysis and in LCA assessments by other researchers: