28 June 2024

The Latest Building Superhero – Green Cement

It’s a first for Cambridge University and Architects!

The UK’s shortage of housing has been big news for a while now. Just how many new homes need to be built lies somewhere between government projections of 300,000 per year, and a recent analysis by the FT predicting up to 529,000.

With all political parties vowing to tackle the problem once and for all, it’s good news for the building industry. And with the ever-increasing focus on eco-friendly development, things are also looking up for the environment and the new homeowner.

GreenMatch just published an article explaining how a holistic approach to crafting a newbuild will address all the major issues in a planet-friendly way. We’re talking about insulation, ventilation, renewable energy sources, appliances, materials, passive design strategies, and water efficiency.


“Gone are the days when ‘eco-design’ conjured up images of quirky, avant-garde structures that seemed better suited for science fiction movies,” says GreenMatch’s Inemesit Ukpanah.

“Today, these visionary designs are becoming an integral part of the architectural landscape, seamlessly blending cutting-edge technology with nature-inspired and eco-friendly aesthetics.”


There are also major planning reforms in the pipeline, which will protect greenbelt areas while prioritising brownfield land for development.


New building ‘Miracle’

But that’s not the end of the story, because a new ‘miracle’ zero-emission cement has just been produced by Cambridge researchers. That’s right, the latest building superhero – green cement! This may not have the average person on the street hyperventilating with excitement, but to the building industry, it’s News with a capital N!


Why? Well, those clever Cambridge wizards have conjured up a way of recycling cement to produce ultra-low-emission concrete, while cutting the carbon footprint of steelmaking.

And they’re adamant that this marks a ‘breakthrough’ in the construction industry’s charge towards net zero.


The key to the process is in using old cement as a substitute for lime flux when recycling steel, which has three positive outcomes:

Firstly, it reduces the need for carbon-intensive lime flux to make new steel.

Secondly, there’s a reduction in wasted cement.

And last, but not least, it produces an output material that can be used to make new concrete.


Architects’ Journal reported that recent tests carried out by the project partner, the Materials Processing Institute, “showed that recycled cement could be produced at scale in an electric arc furnace. If this furnace was powered by renewable energy, this could produce zero-emission cement.”

The researchers predict that they could produce 1 billion tonnes of sustainable cement per year by 2050, which would account for about a quarter of current production levels.

Architects Climate Action Network chair Brigitte Clements said that the new process is “the first step” towards a new era of sustainable building practices and reducing the environmental footprint of one of the world’s most essential materials.

Brigitte was also keen to highlight the importance of the researchers’ breakthrough:

“Could this be the linchpin in revolutionising global decarbonisation efforts? This may be the beginning of something very significant.”



Could you help our built environment become even leaner and greener?

Great, then we want to talk to YOU! Our brilliant mustard BE team have head-turning jobs landing on our desks every day. We’re also likely to have your next dream employee on our books, so call us now on our mustard hotline. The number is 0117 929 606

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