AI launch EPDs for specialist concrete products
Aggregate Industries improving and quantifying environmental performance of ready-mixed concrete
AGGREGATE Industries have partnered with BASF Construction Chemicals to create a suite of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to provide clients with detailed information on the environmental impact of their ready-mixed concrete, and to encourage the implementation of sustainable solutions.
Sustainability and the reduction of environmental impact are core issues within the construction industry, with producers and contractors alike increasingly being expected to preserve natural resources while continuing to produce quality products, and therefore searching for construction methods, practices and products that will promote these objectives.
Cementing their position as a leading provider of sustainable solutions, Aggregate Industries have launched EPDs for three of their specialist ready-mixed concrete products: Agilia, Watertight and Diamondcrete.
The EPDs, published by the Institut Bauen und Umwelt (IBU), are based on life-cycle assessment (LCA) calculations using BASF’s life-cycle analysis tool that allows Aggregate Industries/BASF to quantify the environmental impact of specialist and conventional concrete mix designs, and compare the eco-efficiency of different concrete mixes.
Called the Life Cycle Analyzer, the tool was developed by BASF Construction Chemicals to allow concrete producers and specifiers to demonstrate compliance in line with European Standard BS EN 15804:2012 ‘Sustainability of construction works – Environmental product declarations – Core rules for the product category of construction products’.
The standard defines the structure for construction product EPDs and outlines how the data used are verified.
Using this tool allows Aggregate Industries to calculate indicators such as global warming potential (CO2), renewable energy consumption, acidification potential, and the cost impact of different concrete mix designs.
The calculation includes an assessment of the production stage only (cradle-to-gate) or a full life-cycle assessment of concrete (cradle-to-grave). The latter includes production, transportation to site, maintenance (potential painting and cleaning) and (potential) replacement cycles, end-of-life and (potential) recycling/recovery options. These stages are demonstrated according to the system boundaries of EN 15804.
A major advantage of the Life Cycle Analyzer is that it can be used to assess the environmental parameters for different concretes in order to optimize processes and mix designs, without compromising on concrete quality. The development of the tool is significant because concrete is the most commonly used man-made construction material.
Using the tool, Aggregate Industries will be able to vary concrete mix designs and simultaneously compare the impacts of using different constituent materials on both the environment and costs.
The tool also supports Aggregate Industries in improving process efficiency, energy and resource saving, and fulfilling enhanced quality specifications.
Once the optimum mix has been selected the tool allows users to produce an EPD that will provide the basis for input to green building rating systems such as BREEAM.
Donna Hunt, head of sustainability at Aggregate Industries, said: ‘With our products found in houses, buildings, roads, railways, ports, power stations and much more, we are committed to making a positive contribution to the built environment now and for future generations.
‘We exhibit leadership in our sector by developing and launching innovative products and services, providing our clients with sustainable solutions to a wide range of issues such as resource consumption and reuse, transportation, water management, climate change and carbon management.
‘Aggregate Industries were the first construction materials company in the world to achieve BRE BES 6001, and by also providing third party-verified EPDs that are specific to our products, we are enabling our clients to make sustainable design and purchasing decisions.’