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Briefing sheet

Low Carbon Concrete Routemap

07 December 2023

The new Low Carbon Concrete Routemap – the culmination of more than two years of work by the Green Construction Board’s Low Carbon Concrete Group (LCCG) – was launched in 2022.

Low Carbon Concrete Routemap
The Low Carbon Concrete Group has been working together since January 2020 with a bias towards action.

Concrete is the most used material on the planet. It is strong, durable and the constituents are abundant almost everywhere.

We rely on many forms of concrete each day, from the pavers that we walk on to the high-performance structural concrete used in our tall buildings and infrastructure.

It's an incredible material that has supported the development of our societies and improved the quality of life of billions of people.

However, the active ingredient in concrete – cement – is a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The typical UK consumption of cement per year is equivalent to the emissions of 7.2 million cars.

As the infrastructure industry works towards a zero-carbon future, how can we continue to use concrete given the environmental impact of its active component?

The Low Carbon Concrete Group (LCCG), formed of professionals from the concrete and cement industry, academia, engineers and clients, have addressed this question.

Brought together by the Green Construction Board in its role as the sustainability workstream of the Construction Leadership Council, the LCCG has been working together since January 2020 with a bias towards action.

Part of the result of this work is the Low Carbon Concrete Routemap, which launched in 2022 and is available for download at the bottom of this page.

The routemap examines how the infrastructure industry can use the latest tools, technologies and materials to continue using concrete while working towards a zero-carbon future.

It makes wide-ranging recommendations for clients and industry in eight succinct strands, each forming a chapter of the full report.

Key messages within this report include:

  • We must use concrete as efficiently as possible, and much of this can be done using existing knowledge and technology.
  • In the concrete that does get used, we should be minimising the amount of Portland cement (kg/m3).
  • The routemap also recommends that we use reliable ways of long lived storage for any greenhouse gases (GHG) produced. This requires the development of knowledge and technology which is going through pilot testing.
  • If possible, we need to capture and permanently store more CO2 in the concrete than is produced during the manufacture and use of the concrete. This requires the development of knowledge and technology which is just emerging from the lab.

Many clients and engineers have been looking for a benchmarking approach that would allow them to drive demand of lower carbon concrete by understanding what good looks like. The carbon rating certificate provides just that.

This benchmark was updated in September 2023.

Read the full report below for further insight and recommendations.

Next steps

A new UK Concrete Decarbonisation Taskforce, convened by the ICE, will oversee the delivery of the Low Carbon Concrete Routemap.

It will utilise ICE’s position at the heart of construction and infrastructure, working collaboratively with stakeholders across the sector to unlock major step changes in the decarbonisation of concrete.

If you want to learn more about how your organisation can be involved, email the events team with the subject line ‘concrete’.

Low Carbon Concrete Routemap

Content type: Report

Last updated: 23/05/2022

Author: Low Carbon Concrete Group

  • Michelle Harbi, editorial manager - Insights and Knowledge at ICE