Energy consumption in production of concrete

Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest tower

The Burj Kalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest tower.

Concrete is the most common construction material used in building industry. On average, approximately 1 ton of concrete is produced each year for every human being in the world. Because of its abundance in the world market, understanding the environmental implications of concrete manufacturing is becoming increasingly important.

The production of 1 m³ of concrete requires 2,775 MJ of energy. This energy comes mostly from oil burning, which generates CO2. 2.775 MJ of energy is produced by 0.37 barrels of oil. Saving concrete, e.g. by adopting appropriate building solutions, means therefore not only reducing fossil fuels consumption, but also pollutant emissions.

Take for example Burj Kalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest tower. It required 45,000 m³ of concrete for foundations and 330,000 m³ for all the rest. The choice of some Geoplast Solutions as Modulo, permanent crawl space formwork, and New Nautilus, permanent void former for lightweight bi-directional slabs, would have guaranteed concrete savings up to 10% for foundations and up to 20% for the other building elements. Made debit calculations, a saving of 20,000 barrels of oil would have been possible.

With 20,000 barrels of oil you get:

  • 760,000 liters of diesel fuel;
  • 1,440,000 liters of gasoline;
  • 260,000 liters of fuel for airplanes.

Considering that:

  • A diesel car consumes about 0.055 l / km;
  • A petrol car consumes about 0.085 l / km;
  • A plane consumes an average of 19 liters / nautical mile,

those 20,000 barrels of oil could have been employed for:

  • Travelling about 14 million km with a diesel engine, the equivalent of 18 round trips to the Moon or, if you prefer, of a stock fuel for 700 years;
  • Travelling about 17 million km with a petrol car: the equivalent of 22 round trips to the Moon or of a stock fuel for 800 years;
  • Making 2 world rides with a Boeing 747 with 400 people on board.

If we apply these statements to all the buildings built in the world for example over the last 20 years, we can easily understand the benefits of a systematic and large-scale use of solutions for concrete saving.

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