Construction News

Mon October 26 2020

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HS2 buys into offset concrete

23 Sep An HS2 construction site in northwest London has become the first in the capital to use Cemex’s new low carbon concrete.

Vertua Classic Zero concrete has been used by enabling works contractor Costain Skanska JV and Lydon Contracting to prepare the ground for an electricity substation that will power tunnel boring machines. A further delivery of Vertua is planned at the same site by the end of October.

Cemex is trying to sell more to other sites across the HS2 route since HS2’s stated ambition is to build the most sustainable high speed railway in the world.

Cemex’s Vertua Classic Zero is a low carbon concrete that uses a new geopolymer cement to achieve a 30% to 50% CO2 reduction over a standard concrete (CEM I) mix.

Using carbon offsetting (by giving money to Natural Capital Partners) enables Cemex to have it certified as officially CarbonNeutral, even though it isn't really.

Vertua Classic Zero concrete has also been used by Kier on a new student accommodation development at Warwick University.

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HS2 Ltd environment director Peter Miller said: “Government has set a target for net-zero emissions by 2050 and HS2 is playing its part in meeting that challenge. Using innovative techniques and products in the construction of the new high speed railway, we can not only build HS2 more sustainably, but we can lead by example, showing how the construction sector can help deliver Britain’s cleaner greener future.”

Dan Hunt, programme director at Costain Skanska JV, said: “Working closely with our supply chain, CSjv has identified many ways to maximise our environmental credentials, leading to more than 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) saved to date. We have focused on identifying innovations and efficiencies throughout our whole programme, from our power supplies and fuel sources through to working methodology by reducing and recycling materials.

“We have worked hard to reduce the amount of concrete needed across the programme and by working with Cemex, we have further reduced our carbon footprint of our works.”

Cemex UK technical manager Richard Kershaw said: “We know that minimising the carbon footprint for the HS2 project is of real importance, and our Vertua concrete offers an easy way to make a more sustainable choice for such an important product. We look forward to exploring the other opportunities for Vertua to be used as part of HS2 .”

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