In a significant step towards improving environmental practices in local authority construction projects, local authorities throughout the country have reviewed the tendering framework for these projects and for the first time ever, have included an option to request ‘low carbon’ concrete products in the tender process.
The new tendering framework, which came into effect on January 1, applies to 33 local authorities throughout the country including Offaly County Council, the only exception being Dublin City Council, who operate a separate but similar tendering process themselves.
The driver for this change is that cement production in Ireland is one of the single largest industrial sources of carbon emissions. However, concrete made with low carbon concrete can achieve savings of up to 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually in Ireland.
The introduction of the option of ‘low carbon’ ready mix concrete in the document ‘Instruction to Contractors/Suppliers - Ready Mix & Concrete Additives 2013/2014’ means that local authority engineers and architects can now choose the sustainable option of low carbon concrete, which not only offers environmental benefits, but has a number of additional performance benefits also.
Low carbon concrete is stronger than regular concrete, offering greater resistance from factors such as fire, de-icing salts, acids and sulphate attack, such as found on water and wastewater projects, offices, footpaths, roads or in marine environments.
Its lighter in colour appearance also makes it brighter looking than regular concrete as can be seen in high profile structures such as the Aviva Stadium, the Boyne and Suir cable-stayed bridges.
Christy Loughnane of Loughnane Concrete in Offaly, just one local company that has embraced low carbon products says, ”At Loughnane Concrete we decided to introduce low carbon concrete to the range of products we offer as part of our commitment to a more sustainable future. For every three loads of low carbon concrete we sell, it saves the same CO2 emissions as leaving your car at home for one whole year. We also recognise that by providing low carbon concrete we are giving our customers a more durable and stronger concrete which will particularly benefit farmers, but also all other concrete users.”
David O’ Flynn of Ecocem Ltd., Ireland’s leading provider of low carbon cements, explained what this new tendering option signifies from an environmental point of view.
“The introduction of ‘low carbon’ cement in the local authority tendering process is one of the single biggest advancements in Ireland’s greener procurement policies. It will go a long way towards helping the Ireland meet its Kyoto commitments and will position Ireland as an example for other European countries to follow going
Further details on the new tendering framework can be obtained by contacting your local authority - see contact details at www.laquotes.ie.
This framework follows on the back of the Government’s Action Plan on Green Public Procurement policy “Green Tenders”, which was launched by the government in January last year.