On-demand: Bitesize video

EPD and Carbon Footprinting Guide

Understand the basics of Environmental Product Declarations, what they contain, how they are used, and what information is currently available from the MPA.

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Specifying concrete for lower embodied carbon

This 12 minute webinar introduces concrete and its constituent materials. It provides insights into how to lower the embodied carbon of concrete through specification. 

On-demand: Bitesize video

Low carbon cements

MPA has been leading work to test a range of low carbon multicomponent cements and cements containing calcined clay.

Concrete Compass: Market benchmarking

Navigating to useful resources and guidance

This Concrete Compass is designed to provide more information on the Low Carbon Concrete Group (LCCG) Market Benchmark, that can inform how designers choose low carbon concretes.

The LCCG Market Benchmark

The LCCG Market Benchmark summarises the distribution of Cradle-to-Gate carbon emissions of normal weight concrete recently produced in the UK. The Benchmark covers LCA stages A1 to A3 (“cradle to batching plant gate”, or “cradle to precasting mould”). The Benchmark is prepared by the Low Carbon Concrete Group and is updated periodically to reflect developments in the UK market.

The LCCG Benchmark first appeared in the Low Carbon Concrete Routemap published in 2022 by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). The Routemap looked at the best practice for making and using concrete and built on the UK Concrete and Cement Roadmap to Beyond Net Zero published in 2020 by the Mineral Products Association (MPA). The LCCG was formed by the Green Construction Board.

The first step in the Low Carbon Concrete Routemap is to measure carbon and to create a baseline or benchmark. The LCCG Market Benchmark was created to provide a mechanism for rating the embodied carbon of concrete within the range of concretes in use across the market based on strength. Noting that kgCO2/m3 connected to strength is not applicable for all concrete, nor for one concrete application at all times in all regions. However, the current benchmarking exercise can be a starting point with the intention to evolve in the future.

Embodied carbon of concrete: Market Benchmark guide, published by MPA The Concrete Centre on behalf of the LCCG is based on data from the MPA covering around 50% of the ready-mixed concrete produced in the UK in 2022 and supplemented by data from contractors and consultants. The data was based on a common carbon methodology - gross carbon emission data to EN 15804.

The LCCG Market Benchmark is a tool to assess the embodied carbon of concrete. The tool must be used in the context of reducing overall project and global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Designers should also consider that sometimes a concrete with higher embodied carbon used more efficiently may result in lower project and / or global GHG emissions.

More information

  • A spreadsheet can be downloaded which assesses the Benchmark rating of concrete mixes and plots the mixes on the LCCG market benchmark.
  • The LCCG welcomes high quality data to assist in providing information to assist the assessment and reduction of the embodied carbon of concrete in the UK. For more information visit the LCCG website.

Key guidance

  • Embodied carbon of concrete: Market Benchmark - This guide presents the 2023 LCCG Market Benchmark, based on data from the MPA covering around 50% of the ready-mixed concrete produced in the UK in 2022 and supplemented by data from contractors and consultants. The data was based on a common carbon methodology - gross carbon emission data to EN 15804.
  • Concrete Futures magazine, autumn 2023 - In the absence of an objective scale, the term “low-carbon concrete” has been applied to products with widely varying carbon footprints. This leaves specifiers in the dark, and makes it hard for manufacturers of genuinely lower-embodied carbon mixes to compete against cheaper products with a higher carbon footprint. The article 'Making the Grade'' focuses on  the two new ratings schemes which have been designed to solve this issue, by grading products alphabetically.
  • Specifying Sustainable Concrete - This publication assists designers in optimising the sustainable credentials of concrete through specification. The guide focuses on concrete, its constituent materials and how the variation of specification can influence embodied carbon; the performance of fresh and hardened concrete (e.g. strength gain, durability); the use of recycled/secondary materials as well as information on responsible sourcing and assessment methods.

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Concrete Futures Spring 2024