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How to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry

3 episodes
  • 1
    “We can reduce CO2 emissions from cement by a factor of 10”
  • 2
    Eco-design software for more environmentally-friendly construction
  • 3
    Towards a circular economy in the construction sector?
Épisode 1/3
Isabelle Dumé, Science journalist
On January 6th, 2022
3 mins reading time
Mohend Chaouche
Mohend Chaouche
CNRS research director at ENS Paris Saclay

Key takeaways

  • Cement, which is the main component of concrete, is responsible for approximately 7% of global CO2 emissions.
  • The goal of the new Matériaux cimentaires éco-efficaces (MC²E) laboratory, a collaboration between the CNRS, l’ENS Paris Saclay et Ecocem, is to develop alternative low-carbon-impact cements.
  • Researchers at the MC²E have managed to reduce the amount of cement in concrete by a factor of five.
  • They have also developed a new (patented) cement based on waste residues from the steel industry that has an 80% smaller carbon impact than conventional cement. The new cement is already on the market.
  • It might thus be possible to achieve carbon neutrality quite quickly in this area without having to resort to so-called disruptive techniques.
Épisode 2/3
Isabelle Dumé, Science journalist
On January 6th, 2022
4 mins reading time
Bruno Peuportier
Bruno Peuportier
Research Director for the Environmental Research Lab at MINES ParisTech

Key takeaways

  • Researchers are developing novel software to help design more environmentally-friendly buildings. This “eco-design” approach is becoming ever more popular in the building sector.
  • The goal is to make relevant decisions as early as possible in the design process of a building, as these are the ones that will have the greatest impact on the environmental performance of a project.
  • Such software works for both renovating existing buildings and constructing new buildings.
  • One of the optimisation techniques developed by the Mines ParisTech team, based on “genetic algorithms”, has been particularly popular with house builders.
Épisode 3/3
Isabelle Dumé, Science journalist
On January 6th, 2022
4 mins reading time
Noe Basch
Noé Basch
Founder of Lab Ingénierie and Co-founder of Mobius Réemploi

Key takeaways

  • The company, mobius réemploi, is proposing a way to integrating reused materials originating into new or rehabilitated buildings.
  • Their approach involves carrying out in-depth study, from the design phase onwards, to evaluate whether reused materials are better in terms of environmental impact than completely new materials.
  • While reuse of construction materials is good for the environment, at present, it remains more expensive than using new materials.
  • That said, from 2022 onwards the construction sector will be subject to regulations requiring the limitation of carbon emissions, so the question of materials from reuse will become important.
  • The advantage of reuse is that it does not depend raw material markets, so prices can remain stable over time.

Contributors

Isabelle Dumé

Isabelle Dumé

Science journalist

Isabelle Dumé holds a PhD in physics. She collaborates with various scientific magazines and media, public and private institutions, and actors in higher education and research in France and worldwide.