2. Resource Use

Insight #2: Resource Efficiency






Doing more with less’ is a useful summary for resource efficiency and one frequently used in the context of structural design solutions. But just as embodied CO2 does not represent a true carbon footprint, resource or material efficiency should not be considered at just a single lifecycle stage. As with so many aspects of sustainable construction, the most effective solutions require a holistic, whole-life approach.

Concrete and masonry can offer material efficiency at each stage of development, providing varied opportunities to do more with less. This is in part demonstrated by the industry project with WRAP and stakeholders that delivered Resource Efficiency Action Plans for ready-mixed concrete, precast concrete and blocks, outlining opportunities from factory gate to end of life.

The ability of concrete producers to use waste and by-products from other industries has enabled the industry to become an overall net consumer of waste. During the production process for cement, the sector can safely burn a wide range of materials as alternative fuels such as solvents, tyres, meat and bone meal, sewage sludge, unrecyclable paper and plastic. The raw virgin materials in concrete can also be replaced with recycled materials and by-products from other industries. Ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) is a by product of iron production and fly ash is from electricity generation. 

The concrete industry, via The Concrete Centre, provides designers with detailed information on how material use in buildings can be reduced using concrete, including guidance on material efficient solutions such as post-tensioned concrete.

Read the Insight #2: Resource Efficiency article including:

  • Designing for material efficiency
  • Closing the loop: Concrete and the circular economy, by David Manley

Find out the latest update on the Resource Efficiency performance indicator


This is Concrete - Ten Years, Ten Insights (Resource Efficiency)