Decarbonisation measures in the concrete industry

La Federación Europea BIBM ha presentado un conjunto de propuestas innovadoras para la descarbonización en la industria del hormigón, centradas en el diseño avanzado de productos prefabricados y la implementación de medidas ecoeficientes.


1. Advanced design of prefabricated products

In an effort to reduce specific CO2 emissions in buildings, the importance of more advanced design of precast concrete products is highlighted. Proposals include:

  • Optimisation of structural elements: placing concrete and reinforcement only where necessary.
  • Lighter concrete: Use lighter concrete, including reinforcement, to decrease the self-weight of constructions.
  • Use modern digital tools (optimisation and design optimisation and design software) to maximise performance with the minimum carbon profile.
  • Design precast concrete structures for disassembly and reuse.


2. Manufacture and supply of raw materials (primary and secondary)

For the decarbonisation strategy to be effective, the need for collaboration with material suppliers, especially cement manufacturers, is highlighted. Some of the proposals include:

  • Increasing demand for low-carbon or carbon-free cement.
  • Reducing the clinker/cement ratio by increasing the use of alternative binders.
  • Employing cement-reducing admixtures that reduce the amount of cement per cubic metre of concrete or allow the use of low clinker cements.
  • Develop new binders as an alternative to clinker.
  • Invest in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies.
  • Use less CO2 intensive reinforcements, such as steel with lower CO2 emissions or alternative reinforcements.
  • Use CO2 encapsulating aggregates, which have a negative effect on CO2 emissions.


3. Fabricación de productos prefabricados de hormigón:

In precast concrete plants, CO2 mitigation opportunities are highlighted, including:

  • Concrete optimisation: use of formulations that reduce cement use through specific additives with less clinker.
  • Prestressing: increasing the use of prestressed products.
  • Use of renewable energy.
  • Increasing energy efficiency in manufacturing operations.
  • Use of higher strength concrete.
  • Digital manufacturing: use IT solutions to optimise internal processes.
  • CO2 injection in curing: CO2 storage in precast concrete elements.
  • Granulometry: optimising the choice and proportion of fine and coarse aggregates to improve compaction.
  • Electrification of precast plants: Substitution of fossil fuels with electricity from renewable sources.


4. Mitigation linked to use phases:

The federation also highlights emission reductions during the use and end-of-life of precast concrete products. Some proposals include:

  • Thermal mass: Acts as a battery, reducing the energy needed to maintain indoor comfort.
  • Low maintenance: Reducing maintenance operations means less energy consumption to preserve the functionality of a construction site.
  • Long lifespan: Doubling the lifespan of a building site reduces the CO2 emissions of the final structure by approximately 50%.
  • Integration into energy networks: Using thermal mass with energy networks to reduce energy consumption.


5. End-of-life operations:

When reaching the end of their useful life, precast concrete products can contribute to further reducing the carbon footprint of construction sites.

  • Dismantling and reuse: increasing the lifetime of elements by giving them a second life.
  • Recycling into secondary aggregates for concrete and other purposes.
  • Enhanced carbonation: carbon can be injected into crushed concrete for permanent storage.


6. Use of renewable energy, including hydrogen, for transport and other operations.

Additional reductions can be achieved through associated operations such as logistics. Although precast manufacturers often do not have direct control, they can have a positive impact by promoting these practices among their suppliers.

At rimsa we support this initiative which represents a comprehensive and sustainable approach towards reducing emissions in the concrete industry, driving innovation and eco-efficiency. We believe in the importance of promoting more environmentally friendly practices. This commitment is an integral part of our daily operations in pursuit of responsible solutions for a sustainable future.