Three reasons concrete doesn’t live up to its environmental claims

Up to 8% of all global anthropogenic human-made emissions are due to just one material, cement. And our use of it is rising.

The cement and concrete industry is encouraging this use, for example, by claiming that using concrete will reduce the “whole life” carbon emissions from buildings.

The absence of regulations to measure this has allowed such claims to play an important role in persuading designers and specifiers to use certain products. However, research conducted by my colleagues and me shows that these claims are often, at the least, exaggerated.

We identified the use of three such claims. First is the claim that because concrete has a high thermal mass, which allows it to act as a heat store, it will reduce the carbon emissions from heating and cooling a building during its life

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