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Climate Change - Construction Materials

  • 1.  Climate Change - Construction Materials

    Posted 04 June 2019 18:18
    Good morning from Grand Rapids, Michigan!

    This topic may have been covered many times over, but do you have links to studies and articles that looks at changing construction materials to help mitigate climate change? Any national/municipality goals or directives?

    Thanks for your help.

  • 2.  RE: Climate Change - Construction Materials

    Posted 05 June 2019 21:49
    ​Hi Rick,

    I'm not across it all, but there are lots of research studies, etc over at  A number of quick links for you:

    David Grasby
    Senior Planner
    Sydney Water


  • 3.  RE: Climate Change - Construction Materials

    Posted 06 June 2019 17:46
    Hi Rick,
    You may like to visit the Infrastructure Sustainability Council Australia website ISCA - Home 
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    ISCA - Home
    View this on Isca >
     I was working on my masters in sustainability studies, incomplete, with my project two case studies on major road projects in Western Australia.  The reduction of CO2 emissions by the reduction in fuel usage, recycling of concrete, minimal haul distances, nonpotable water usage and warm asphalt were all aspects of these projects.  Considering humans move more material than all geological processes combined and that quality construction materials are being depleted it is well worth investigating innovative ways of reducing the use of new materials in construction. We are on target to reach an average temperature rise of 4 degrees C.  This is likely to create an atmosphere toxic to humans, a 65m sea level rise and all the drama that goes with it.  Anything we are able to do to stave off that event is worth doing. Because it requires political action, I am pleased I won't be around to see the consequences of political inaction.



  • 4.  RE: Climate Change - Construction Materials

    Posted 10 June 2019 19:20
    Thank you, Leon. I'm reading The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells (Australia is predicted to take a huge hit). 4 degrees C may now be on the conservative side. Plus our Strategic Plan includes Sustainability as one of the City of Grand Rapids' values. We do a lot with recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) in our new HMA, but I'm trying to understand if there are other things we should be looking at. This reference will help.

    Thanks again. I hope you have a great weekend.

  • 5.  RE: Climate Change - Construction Materials

    Posted 13 June 2019 18:01
    Hi Rick

    It would seem most effort is put on what to do after climate change has done its best by raising road levels etc.

    Very little seems to be being done by agencies to limit feeding climate change.

    Please see attached for your interest

    For your interest Only

    Many thanks

    Mark Holding
    Project Manager
    Earthco Projects Pty Ltd ( PolyCom Stabilising Aid )
    Woodend Victoria


  • 6.  RE: Climate Change - Construction Materials

    Posted 19 June 2019 22:45
    Great and responsible question. With a perspective from my current business life and previously, as the previous Defence Climate and Security Adviser and a Project Direct for commonwealth infrastructure, I offer the following.
    There is so much that can be done; both Mitigation and Adaptation. Here's a couple ideas - mitigation; above all else reduce the emissions of all Green Houses Gas we can as quickly as we can.
    1.  over the next 5 years or so, change your local government policy to demand the use of low Carbon Concrete.
    2.  increase the design life of your buildings and infrastructure as a policy. Note current economic life models as interesting - but not real. Try design policy with a 100 or 300 year life.
    3.  Use the Sustainable Development Goals as an ethical reference/guide in the procurement policy. This allows projects/proposals to consider value, not just $ cost. Demand your supply chain uses the SDGs as well.
    4.  work toward and fully consider the re-use of treated water for drinking.
    5.  green the urban heat islands, through green facades and tree planting (noting the likely changes to your climate).
    6.  encourage your citizens not to use cars. Encourage healthy alternatives to vehicles. Make your public transport free and accessible.
    7.  declare a climate emergency; but define what that means for your leadership, your citizens and the policies that it demands.

    On Adaptation,
    1.  when planning, ensure expert advice is sought on the likely weather conditions within the life (and the consequence life), of the asset.
    2.  Include social infrastructure in developments to support a compassionate society capable of helping each other in times of crisis; for example footy clubs, sports ovals, parks, schools and shopping centres need to facilitate crisis support.
    3.  Go beyond the NCC if your local area, by policy, based on good predictions. Look at the predictions of temperature, wind and sea level rise, make good judgements beyond the lowest accepted standards.
    4.  treat your waste water as an energy and life sustaining commodity. Develop a local hydrogen industry, including understanding for fuelling vehicles. Use solar, wind and pumped hydro, to form the backbone of your council/ city energy systems.
    5.  develop social systems that will support the vulnerable as their world changes.
    6.  talk to your citizens and tell them why things must change. Most of the informed world understands.

    At this stage the world remains on a pathway (RCP8.5) to what some say will be an uninsurable world. We must act to support the Paris Agreement intent in any way we can. Where there is an absence of leadership, we must lead. Adopt a sustainable development mindset.  Take care of your citizens; It's what engineers have based our profession on.

  • 7.  RE: Climate Change - Construction Materials

    Posted 23 June 2019 23:22
    Use more  wood from plantations its stored carbon.
    And the trees will regrow quickly and store more carbon.