Home » Laing O’Rourke mandates use of low-carbon concrete on all new projects

Laing O’Rourke mandates use of low-carbon concrete on all new projects

by Liam Turner
AKT II has joined ConcreteZero, a global initiative that brings together pioneering organisations to create a market for net-zero concrete.

Laing O’Rourke has mandated the switch to low-carbon concrete on all of its new UK projects.

The multi-national construction firm, based in England, says the exclusive use of low-carbon concrete from 1 April this year will accelerate its progress toward net-zero.

The change will be introduced with immediate effect and applies to all new projects that begin main construction on or after 1 April 2023.

It will result in a “significant” reduction in scope 3 carbon emissions, according to the company.

Following a long-term research programme co-funded by Laing O’Rourke and Innovate UK – and in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) – the business claims to have proven that a range of low-carbon concrete options can be successfully deployed on projects as a like-for-like substitute for traditional concrete.

The overall carbon reduction will be 28% when compared with the company’s concrete usage in 2022, it says.

Reducing scope 3 emissions

Cathal O’Rourke, Laing O’Rourke’s newly appointed chief operating officer, said: “We’ve committed to being a net-zero company before 2050, and we are looking at every possible measure to accelerate our progress.

“In construction, the greatest challenge is reducing scope 3 emissions – the embodied carbon in purchased materials.

“Reducing all carbon emissions is a priority for our business.

“The built environment makes a significant contribution to global warming and constructors must work with clients and design partners to deploy new technologies and innovations that make modern methods the norm and enable us to build in less carbon intensive ways.”

Rossella Nicolin, Laing O’Rourke’s head of Sustainability for Europe, said: “The expertise of our in-house concrete technologists, the experts who operate our advanced manufacturing facility in Nottinghamshire (the Laing O’Rourke Centre of Excellence for Modern Construction, CEMC), and our supply chain partners, have all contributed to this significant step forward.

“Last year, 43% of the concrete products we manufactured for our live projects were low carbon.

“It’s exciting to think this will rise to 100% this year, and that very soon all our new projects will only use low-carbon concrete.”

Laing O’Rourke’s low-carbon concrete uses lower carbon alternatives to Portland cement.

These include GGBS (Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag) and PFA (Pulverised Fly Ash), both of which are industrial by-products with a lower carbon footprint.

Laing O’Rourke’s ongoing research programme focuses on wider scale deployment of cement-free options, which are ultra-low carbon, and it expects to introduce more of these materials going forward.

The company became a founding member of ConcreteZero in 2022.

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