"Green" concrete in Denmark

Søren Lundsted Poulsen

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"Green" concrete in Denmark

An article by Mette Glavind and Chr. Munch-Petersen, Danish Technological Institute, Denmark.
Published in: Structural Concrete 2000, No. 1

Cement and concrete may have an important role to play in enabling Denmark to fulfil its obligation, agreed at the Kyoto Conference, to reduce the total CO2 emission by 21% compared with the 1990 level before 2012. This is because approximately 2% of Denmark's total CO2 emission stems from cement and concrete production. There is considerable knowledge about how to produce concrete with a reduced environmental impact.

However, it is not known to a sufficient degree - neither in Denmark nor internationally - on what scale, and with what technology, this "green" concrete can be applied in practice in buildings and structures. For instance, there is not enough information about how the properties of green concrete, such as compressive strength, durability, fire performance, casting and execution, hardening and curing, are affected by the measures to reduce the environmental impact of concrete.

This paper gives an overview of the present state of affairs in Denmark of concrete types that have reduced environmental impact. There is a description of among other things the possibilities of using green concrete within the existing standards and specifications. A special focus will be on a large Danish centre running from 1998 to 2002, involving leading universities, institutes, building owners, contractors, consultancies, and cement and concrete manufacturers.

The potential environmental benefit to society of being able to build with green concrete is huge. It is realistic to assume that technology, which can halve the CO2 emission related to concrete production, can be developed. This will potentially reduce Denmark's total CO2 emissions by 0,5% and will contribute significantly to achieving the targets set up at the Kyoto Conference.

Furthermore, green concrete might solve some of society's problems with the use of inorganic, residual products which would otherwise be deposited.