The firm is using ‘Cemfree’ – a concrete-alternative with up to 60% lower embedded carbon – for the foundations of small building project in Norwich.

Concrete is the most commonly used building material in the world and is estimated to be responsible for around 5% of global carbon emissions. The process of creating cement – a key ingredient of traditional concrete – is highly energy intensive.

Cemfree replaces cement with a by-product from blast furnaces used in the iron industry and is a viable low-carbon alternative.

Anglian Water innovation technologist Fionn Boyle explained: “We’re starting small, but this new material has big potential.

“We’re always looking for new ways to reduce our carbon emissions and as a company that relies on our infrastructure and physical assets it made sense to concentrate on the construction materials we use. Concrete is a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but it is a vital material on all our treatment sites.

“We will be vigorously testing it with involvement and technical expertise from our design and construction partners to ensure it meets our standards, and in the future we will be looking at ways we can use it to replace traditional concrete.

“We’re at the start of the testing phase for this new innovation, and if it does prove to be valuable to us we hope others in the industry will be able to learn from our experiences. We’re committed to investing in innovation, not just to benefit our business but to also to benefit our environment.”

Anglian Water has pledged to deliver a 70% reduction in embodied carbon by 2030. The firms also runs the Drop20 campaign, which aims to help customers cut their water consumption by 20 litres each a day.

Brad Allen

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