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Concrete In Australia : March 2013
Concrete in Australia Vol 39 No 1 49 data for 12 months (2009) was considered and information on raw materials (quantity, type and source) and waste (type, treatment, destination) was collected. Information on greenhouse gas emissions associated with the upstream of a concrete pipeline manufacturer was sourced from a number of academic and commercial sources. e vast majority of these references are publicly available. Boundary definition, cut-offs and an impact assessment were carried out in accordance with PAS 2050 requirements. Allocation based on physical relationships was avoided wherever possible due to PAS 2050 restrictions and other means were employed to breakdown emissions and identify impacts associated with different co-products. e methodology and calculations were verified, assessed and modified by consultants Carbon Clear. e final cradle-to-gate GWP was found to be considerably different to the carbon footprints calculated using the values extracted from the ICE database (Version 1.6). Table 2 shows the two cradle-to-gate carbon footprint results for concrete pipes, manhole rings and cover slabs. 3.3 Comparison with plastic pipeline systems In order to make a viable comparison with plastic pipeline systems, it was necessary to assess any literature available on the carbon footprints of plastic pipes and try to modify it to make it suitably comparable to the calculate concrete pipe footprint. As all plastic pipe emission data was based on secondary information it was not possible to develop a carbon footprint fully compliant to PAS 2050. However, the most complete and recognised carbon footprint for HDPE and PVC Pipes was found ((GWP100 based and ISO 14040 compliant) and it was modified to meet geographical and time-related requirements: • e characterisation model for Global Warming Potential was updated from the International Panel of Climate Change 2001 baseline to 2007. is required using a 25 characterisation rate value for methane instead of 21. • All resin used in the production of UK plastic pipes is imported from Europe and beyond. As proven by Peters et al (2011), the embodied greenhouse gas emissions of internationally traded goods can be significant and are therefore ineligible. It was therefore decided to modify a number of elements affected by geography to reflect the actual impacts associated with an imported HDPE, PVC or polypropylene resin. A number of sourcing scenarios were looked at: ese included Western Europe (Italy as example), Eastern Europe (Hungary as example), Middle East (Saudi Arabia as example) and East (India as example). e final overall comparison showed outstanding results which are significantly different from any findings or claims made earlier by different parties within the drainage and sewerage industry. e bar chart at Figure 2 shows how a DN2100 concrete pipe compares with an equivalent plastic pipe made of resin imported from Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia. With such findings it is evident how missing on the simplest detail can lead to incorrect results and incorrect conclusions. Precast concrete has no unified and generic carbon footprint and the number of variables affecting its overall footprint can be very high. e CPSA is currently communicating the findings of this study. In January 2011, BPCF was successful in influencing the latest version of the Bath University ICE database and appropriate notes were incorporated to warn users against using generic footprints without considering different variables associated with the precast product. e CPSA carbon footprint study is currently identified as reference number 300 at the new ICE database Version 2.0. 4.0 CONCLUSION Despite the current setback associated with the Copenhagen Accord targets not being compulsory and not meeting requirements to limit temperature rise to 2 °C, there is no reason to believe that Climate Change, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints will not continue to dominate public view and industry policies. ere are no indications that the amount of information on carbon dioxide emission Figure 2. The carbon footprint of 1 m length of a 2100 mm diameter concrete pipe compared to a plastic pipe manufactured using resin sourced from a number of sources.