Carbon Footprint of Concrete

CO2e: 150kg per tonne (100 days)

“According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD,
‘Concrete is the most widely used material on earth apart from water, with nearly three tons used annually for each man, woman, and child.’ ”

“Carbon dioxide emissions from a cement plant are divided into two source categories: combustion and calcination. Cobustion accounts for approximately 40% and calcination 60% of the total CO2 emissions from a cement manufacturing facility. ”

“The manufacture of cement produces about 0.9 pounds of CO2 for every pound of cement.
Since cement is only a fraction of the constituents in concrete, manufacturing a cubic yard
of concrete (about 3900 lbs) is responsible for emitting about 400 lbs of CO2.”

“The resource use for concrete was about double that for steel. Both produced high levels of carbon dioxide, but the amount for concrete was quite similar to the amount for steel. The water pollution index for concrete was about half that for steel. The air pollution values were similar. The solid waste values were similar. The energy consumption for concrete was about two-thirds that for steel. The energy values computed using ATHENA were different from the values we computed, in part because ATHENA included construction and demolition while we considered only the manufacture of the materials. Overall, the computation shows a smaller environmental impact for concrete than for steel.”

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