Reducing CO2 emissions with new green concrete

People laying concrete

Climate change is primarily caused by too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Human activity such as burning coal and cutting down forests is causing atmospheric CO2 to increase at an unprecedented rate, with potentially devastating global consequences. Construction and demolition waste (CDW) is one of the main offenders, responsible for 30% of total urban waste and colossal CO2 emissions. The landfilling of CDW is also extremely costly and harmful to the environment.

A new low-cost 'green concrete' made entirely from recycled CDW has been developed that not only reduces CO2 emissions, but promises safe permanent storage of CO2 trough binding high levels of CO2 to itself during production. The use of recycled CDW also decreases the quarrying of new materials, reducing the need to strip the earth of its natural resources.

The UK-Turkey GreenLegOuse project has created a flexible, Lego-like construction system that can be quickly built to provide affordable accommodation for low income communities, including the homeless, slum dwellers and refugees, not only in Newton Fund partner countries but countries all around the world. The system can also be disassembled and reassembled, increasing its reusability and recyclability with easy-to-implement, low-cost and energy-efficient techniques, and removing the need for heavy demolition processes and the pollution this creates.

The project developed research capacity in Turkey and provided opportunities to initiate completely new lines of research in this field. By working closely with the construction industry, the team aim to increase the project's impact and contribute to global economic, environmental and social development.

The construction industry is a huge contributor to climate change. Our circular economy approach aims to drastically reduce waste, bring down CO2 emissions and reduce environmental damage, while ensuring construction demands can be met.

Professor Mustafa Sahmaran, Hacettepe University, Turkey

Lego construction system of ‘green’ structural components for low-cost housing

Project leads: Professor Ashraf Ashour, University of Bradford, UK and Professor Mustafa Sahmaran, Hacettepe University, Turkey

Delivery partners: British Council, UK and the Scientific and Technological Research Council, Turkey

SDG goals icon portraying sustainable cities and communities SDG 9