Building materials supplier, Aggregate Industries, visited the University of Bath to talk to postgraduate students and academic staff in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering about the practical challenges of a low carbon transition for the construction industry.
Veronika Elfmarkova, ECOPact Product Manager for Aggregate Industries’ London Concrete business was invited by Dr Xinyuan Ke, lecturer in Sustainable Materials for Construction in the Department for Architecture and Civil Engineering, to provide postgraduate students, research and academic staff at the university with a view from industry.
The seminar provided an introduction to the sector, the cement production process, what net zero means for construction, and the opportunities for carbon reduction. Also discussed were some of the practical considerations of a low carbon transition, and how academia can help the sector in overcoming some of the challenges.
Elfmarkova said: “Talking to the postgraduate students, who are at the very start of their journey into the construction industry, was a real honour. As an employer, we have a responsibility to support grassroots talent coming into the sector, so opportunities like this to start a conversation are vital. As a sector, if we are to deliver on our collective ambitions for a more sustainable future, upskilling is crucial and for that, there must be greater collaboration between academia and industry.
“There is no single solution available to achieve carbon neutrality in construction, but research suggests that a combination of several initiatives can be implemented to reduce CO2 emissions across the industry value chain, including energy efficient processes, a move to alternative fuels, reducing the clinker factor with alternative materials, such as fly ash or GGBS, and novel cement and innovative carbon capture technologies.
“We continue to develop low carbon solutions, and we have been reducing carbon in our concrete for years. We have converted to lower carbon blended cements, which save over 30% carbon when compared to the more traditional CEMI mixes. This change towards lower carbon mixes is saving over 1.2 million kg of carbon per year. This is equivalent to over 4.8 million miles driven in a diesel car.”
The Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering at the University of Bath is a centre of excellence, with its courses and research being internationally recognised. With experts in climate change, innovative and holistic design, and historical interpretation, it promotes collaborative research between the fields of both architecture and civil engineering, with specialist research centres that explore innovative construction materials, architectural theory and practice, sustainable design and geotechnical and water engineering.