Sand destined to the manufacture of cement in a quarry

Report | 2021

Concrete Solutions Guide

Six Actions to Lower the Embodied Carbon of Concrete

By Charles CannonValentina GuidoLachlan Wright

Concrete and cement are some of the most carbon-intensive materials in our built environment. The carbon “embodied” in concrete and other materials makes up more than one-quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions from the global building sector. These embodied carbon emissions arise from the manufacture, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building materials.

With efforts to reduce embodied carbon emissions in buildings and infrastructure, the demand for low-embodied-carbon concrete is growing rapidly.

The Concrete Solutions Guide provides a user-friendly overview of proven and scalable solutions to reduce concrete’s contribution to climate change. This guide highlights six key opportunities to reduce embodied carbon in concrete products without compromising financial or material performance.

Most of the solutions described are market-ready—the result of decades of research and real-world trials. In addition to helping advance the environmental goals of concrete purchasers, these solutions offer opportunities for producers to reduce costs and establish a leadership role in a changing industry.

The cement and concrete value chain include a complex network of stakeholders. The solutions in this guide will be useful for concrete producers and cement manufacturers, as well as developers, designers, contractors, and policymakers. The information contained in the guide will help each stakeholder advance climate-conscious innovation in the construction sector.