Solutions to environmental impacts of concrete with new ISO Standard

Issue 40 – July 2012

A new ISO Standard will help the construction industry better manage the environmental impacts of concrete.

Concrete is widely used for constructing infrastructures such as buildings, bridges, dams, and tunnels, and its consumption as a resource is the second largest on the planet after water, with potential strongly negative impacts on the environment.

ISO 13315-1:2012, Environmental management for concrete and concrete structures – Part 1: General principles, aims to provide the basic rules on environmental management for concrete and concrete structures. It will help owners, designers, manufacturers, constructors, users, certification bodies, and environmental standard developers.

The Standard is intended to contribute to continual improvement of the environmental impacts resulting from concrete-related activities. It ensures consistency with the AS/NZS ISO 14000 series on environmental management.

ISO 13315-1 covers the secondary effects of the production of concrete and of concrete structures which consume large amounts of resources, such as water, energy, cement and steel and emit large amounts of CO2 in their production processes.

The Standard provides a framework and basic rules on the environmental management of concrete processes and concrete structures. This includes the assessment of environmental impacts and methods of implementing environmental improvement. It addresses the entire life cycle of concrete structures, including:

  • design, production, recycling, and disposal of concrete
  • building, use, and demolition.

Prof. Koji Sakai, Chair of ISO/TC 71/SC8, comments: 'Today, the concept of sustainability is required in every aspect of social, economic, and cultural activities. ISO 13315-1 will help the construction industry answer the need for sustainability and will provide a strong support at all phases of the life cycle of concrete structures.'

Adapted from ISO media release, 13 June 2012

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Published in building.

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