Gary Billington, managing director of Eco-Readymix, the producer of ready-mix concrete, mortar and floor
screed, discusses how responsible sourcing and production techniques can help reduce the carbon footprint
and environmental impact of concrete.
A resurgence in growth in the construction
industry should be a reason to cheer,
but the detrimental impact it will have
on the environment should equally be a
cause for concern.
According to the UK Green Building Council,
the industry uses more than 400 million tonnes
of material a year, much of which has an adverse
impact on the environment.
And with the threat of global warming
constantly looming, managing and reducing this
material is becoming more and more important.
With the government planning to build
around 300,000 new homes a year and striking
an agreement with the UK construction industry,
in a deal which aims to halve greenhouse gas
emissions in the built environment over the next
seven years, the pressure is mounting to build in a
more environmentally friendly way.
And as a vital part of the construction sector,
the building products industry has an important
part to play in the increasing fight to reduce the
world’s carbon footprint.
Concrete is one of the most common and
versatile materials on the planet and is used in
everything from buildings and walls to roads,
paths and bridges. But, it is only when in its
most natural state that it could be described as
The industrial extraction of the materials,
the mixing and the application of concrete are
where the damage to the environment arises
and research shows that building materials such
as concrete are directly responsible for large
quantities of CO2 emissions.
It’s why we are so passionate about remaining
at the forefront of our industry by using
environmentally friendly techniques and
constantly pursuing the latest technology to help
reduce concrete’s CO2 levels.
The good news is, concrete is evolving, with
new products coming onto the market with
environmental and sustainability benefits.
Using ready-mixed eco concrete is a way of
limiting the impact on the environment and can
help construction companies meet current and
future green agendas.
When extracting materials from the earth, it’s
imperative to do so in a responsible way and eco
concrete mixes use recycled and sustainable raw
materials that are high-quality, carefully graded
products, sustainably sourced from ethically
managed quarries. In the future, I believe that all
concrete will be produced the ‘eco’ way.
There are, however, environmental and
sustainable benefits to concrete too. It can be
used to provide excellent thermal performance,
creating well insulated and airtight buildings.
It can also help reduce heating costs as in the
winter, concrete warms up during the day, and
by the evening it continues to heat the internal
Not only is concrete adaptable but it is also
incredibly durable and creates structures that
are built to last. It can stand up to the harshest
of weather conditions, and requires little or
no maintenance. So, in this respect it reduces
construction waste, which is hugely beneficial for
Carbon reduction is a complex challenge,
and companies in the construction and
building products sector are starting to use more
environmentally-friendly methods – but we could
all do more.
I strongly believe the government needs to put
more measures in place to ensure new-builds are
produced with a percentage of recycled materials
and eco-friendly processes. With government
backing, I believe the building of sustainable and
eco-friendly homes could be the contributing
factor to reducing the world’s carbon footprint.
OCTOBER 8 | BUILDING PRODUCTS