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New Global Standard Tackles Concrete’s Environmental Impact

Friday, June 15, 2012

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ISO, the world’s leading international standards organization, has developed a new standard to help the construction industry better manage the global environmental impact 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 strong negative impacts on the environment,” ISO said in a release.

 Concrete is the No. 2 resource consumed on Earth, ISO says.

 US Bureau of Reclamation

Concrete is the No. 2 resource consumed on Earth, ISO says. The Hoover Dam was the world’s largest concrete project when work began in 1931. Engineers calculated that a continuous concrete pour would take 125 years to cool, so they opted (left) to pour concrete blocks in columns.

ISO 13315-1:2012, Environmental management for concrete and concrete structures – Part 1: General Principles “is intended to contribute to continual improvement of the environmental impacts resulting from concrete-related activities.”

Environmental Management Rules

Designed for owners, designers, manufacturers, constructors, users, certification bodies and environmental standard developers, the new standard provides a framework and basic rules for environmental management related to concrete and concrete structures.

The standard 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; and

• Building, use and demolition.

The standard also covers the secondary effects of the production of concrete and of concrete structures that consume large amounts of water, energy, cement, steel and other resources and emit large amounts of CO2 in their production processes.

‘The Need of Sustainability’

ISO 13315 1:2012 was developed by Subcommittee SC 8 (Environmental management for concrete and concrete structures) of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 71 (Concrete, reinforced concrete and pre-stressed concrete).

 China’s Three Gorges Dam set a world record for the largest concrete pour on a single project.

 Creative Commons

China’s Three Gorges Dam set a world record for the largest concrete pour on a single project. Construction consumed 16 million cubic meters of concrete (nearly five times the amount used in the Hoover Dam) over 17 years.

“Today, the concept of sustainability is required in every aspect of social, economic, and cultural activities,” said Professor Koji Sakai, who chairs ISO/TC 71/SC8. “ISO 13315-1 will help the construction industry answer the need of sustainability and will provide a strong support at all phases of the life cycle of concrete structures.”

The standard ensures consistency with the ISO 14000 series on environmental management.

Founded in 1946, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards. The non-governmental organization is a network of the national standards institutes of 164 countries.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Certifications and standards; Concrete; Construction; Infrastructure; ISO; Tunnel

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