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Both builders and their customers are becoming more aware of the need to improve sustainability, and this trend will continue

The annual ‘Ecobuild’ show once again looms (5th-7th March at the ExCeL Centre in East London), the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment.

It’s a show we have long supported –this will be the first time we have a presence as Lafarge Tarmac, so we’re looking forward to showcasing our approach to sustainable construction, and are teaming up with the Concrete Centre on our feature stand (number N1640).

Ecobuild acts as a focus for all those interested in a more sustainable construction industry – and builders are no exception. New products and sustainable construction solutions are showcased and it provides an unrivalled opportunity for networking.

Building materials like cement, concrete and asphalt are perhaps not the first products that come to mind when you think of sustainability, but think again. Looking at all three of the pillars of sustainability (Environmental, Economic and Social), each of these products plays its role in each of them.

If we take the packed cement you might buy at a builder’s merchant, in terms of environmental impact, the embodied carbon dioxide has steadily fallen over the last decade or so as new ‘CEM II’ products have been introduced in place of the more carbon intensive Portland cement or ‘CEM I’. The implementation of plastic packaging improves sustainability (however counter-intuitive it may sound) by significantly reducing waste in transport and on site. Most cement-based packed products also carry ‘Responsible Sourcing’ certification and are manufactured at sites under ISO 14001 Environmental Management systems.

Looking at the Economic pillar, the cement, aggregates, asphalt and concrete industries directly employ many thousands of people within the UK and many more are involved in distribution and retail sales, not least in Builders’ Merchants.

Finally, as the most widely used construction material on earth, can you really imagine a world without concrete? Along with the other products mentioned above, it provides shelter for the population as well as the infrastructure to enable us to move around, trade and run successful businesses. Socially unsustainable? I don’t think so!!

Both builders and their customers are becoming more aware of the need to improve sustainability, and this trend will continue – presenting great opportunities for manufacturers and retailers who recognise and respond with products that meet their needs. Although there are always critics of traditional construction, when combined with good design, energy efficient heating and effective insulation (‘Green Deal’ anyone?), it can still offer a truly sustainable solution for modern living.

About Guest Blogger - Bill Price

Bill Price is National Commercial Technical Manager at Tarmac’s Cement business

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