Related articles

Blog: Carbon savings: it's all in the timing

Transitioning the UK to renewable energy means being smarter about managing peaks and troughs. “Active buildings” are the next frontier of demand-side technology, and thermal mass can play a vitally important role.

The Concrete Centre’s building physicist, Tom De Saulles, recently investigated the emerging advent of Active Buildings, which looks set to be a component of the next major SAP update. 

Innovative concrete examples

The UK concrete industry is continually innovating. It is significantly investing in research and development to expand the material’s potential to tackle the challenges facing modern society.

This has helped concrete to become stronger and more adaptable, to reduce its carbon footprint and to embrace the digital technology that is revolutionising the way structures are built.

This section gives examples of some of the latest innovative concretes and concrete developments.

Concrete Futures

Dedicated to exploring innovation, research and new developments

Concrete Futures is a lecture and magazine series which is dedicated to exploring the innovation, research and new developments in concrete. Recent and evolving concrete innovations, including the use of alternative constituent materials and digital technology, is fundamental to improving the efficiency of manufacturing, design and construction processes.  These innovations have the potential to change the properties and performance of concrete and create opportunities to develop how we use concrete in the future.

Concrete Futures at Futurebuild 2022

Available on The Concrete Centre stand  at Futurebuild 2022 is Concrete Futures magazine, featuring the latest concrete updates and innovations. The main feature ‘Levers for change’ showcases how the UK concrete industry is seizing its decade to deliver on net-zero – from low-carbon sea defences to hydrogen-fuelled cement kilns. While the ‘Low, lower, lowest’ article focuses on the many ways to reduce the carbon impact of a concrete design and why it is important to get suppliers on board early.

Other topics in the magazine include the ‘Hidden powers’ of capturing and storing energy from nature, including gravity and wave power. And ‘Peak performer’ which delves into the detail of Active Buildings – the next frontier of demand-side technology.

Pick up a copy from The Concrete Centre/Concrete Futures stand at F60, or download now.


Concrete Futures Events: Saving Carbon Now at Futurebuild 2022

‘Concrete Futures: saving carbon now’ is a day of seminars that explores key themes around carbon and how efficient decisions and design can make savings now and into the future. The three sessions are: low carbon concrete; efficient design and construction; and roadmap in action.

Low carbon concrete

2 March | 10.00 - 12.00 | South Gallery Room 7 & 8

This session considers the development, availability, and use of lower carbon concretes in the UK. It will provide an overview of evolving standards, sources of environmental product data and recent design and specification guidance.

Efficient design and construction

2 March | 10.00 - 12.00 | South Gallery Room 7 & 8

This session will go through some of the recent studies of embodied carbon of different structural systems that show that the choice of grid, loading and structural system can make a difference in the embodied carbon of up to 50% without changing the concrete mix.

Roadmap in action

2 March | 10.00 - 12.00 | South Gallery Room 7 & 8

In this session we introduce the technical and behavioural enablers/levers that feature in the UK, European and Global sector decarbonisation roadmaps. Presentations will share exciting updates on the trials and potential of net zero fuels, and the global research and investment in carbon capture.


Watch one of our webinars 

Lecture: Expanding the use of lower carbon concretes

The use of lower carbon concretes and cements is a key lever in the UK concrete and cement industry roadmap to beyond net zero. This event recording provides an update on research to expand the range of lower carbon concretes covered by BS 8500, innovation in precast concrete and practical guidance for the use of other lower carbon concretes using alkali-activated cements (AACMs).

Speakers include cement experts and concrete technologists, who will update on multi-component cements in BS 8500 and representatives from contractors who will look at innovative solutions for carbon reduction using precast concrete and practical guidance to the use of Geopolymer and Alkali Activated Cement concretes in projects happening now. View now.

Lecture: Concrete innovation for renewable energy

Decarbonising the UK's electricity supply is fundamental to achieving net zero carbon commitments and increasing the availability of renewable energy forms a vital part of that commitment. 

This Concrete Futures lecture showcases innovations that have the potential to support the effective supply of zero carbon energy including wind, wave, gravity, and kinetic solutions. It also explores the use of concrete structure as a smart thermal store to help address the challenges of intermittent energy supply and improve its efficiency. View now

A supporting Concrete Futures article on the topic of renewable energy is also freely available. Download here.

Lecture: A new generation of low carbon concretes

This event showcases some of the new generation of low carbon concretes and explores their current, and potential uses, and their carbon footprint.

It is hosted by Elaine Toogood, from The Concrete Centre, and includes presentations by MPA Cement; Cemex; OCO Technology, Solidia and Aggregate Industries. View now.

Lecture: Bio-receptive concrete

This event features presentations from three leaders in the field of bioreceptive concrete, each presenting their specific developments, its potential uses and benefits.

They include Poikilohydric Living Walls, by Professor Marcos Cruz, Biocrete paving by Dr Elizabeth Gilligan and EcoStructure (concrete flood defences to support marine biodiversity) by Dr Ciaran NcNally.

The event commences with an overview of concrete and biodiversity by Elaine Toogood, The Concrete Centre. View now.

Further reading

Download The Shape of Things to Come magazine

Concrete provides non-combustible structures for our homes, schools, hospitals and offices, and the thermal mass to cool them in warmer summers without energy-intensive cooling systems. This publication looks at the 'shape of things to come' with concrete as innovators are reformulating cement to be less energy-intensive or replacing it completely, devising alternatives to fine aggregate such as waste plastic and inventing new types of reinforcement that can bend, be 3D-printed in fibre form or even transmit light. 

Concrete Futures: Remixed