Agilia Case Study
Lafarge GreenTag® concretes designed for sustainable building
“Buildings are responsible for 30-40% of global carbon emissions and we believe we have a responsibility, the resources and unique skills to help decrease that footprint,” says Stephan Van Niekerk, Readymix Director at Lafarge Industries South Africa. “Reflecting Lafarge’s commitment to support sustainable building in the exceptionally competitive local market, our global brand readymix products are still the only concretes offered with the Level C GreenTag® South Africa certification.”
Lafarge South Africa (Lafarge) is a member of the international LafargeHolcim group,
a world leader in building materials, giving the local company access to unique global resources, innovative technology and experience. The group has sustainable development
as a core value, and promotes awareness of the important role that architecture, engineering, urban planning, building materials and construction have in achieving a more sustainable future.
The GreenTag® South Africa certified products include Artevia™, a range of high quality decorative concretes for internal flooring and external paving applications; Agilia™ self-consolidating concrete and screeds that, due to their high fluidity, eliminate the need for vibration and offer building solutions unattainable with standard concrete mixes; and Hydromedia™, the technical breakthrough in permeable concrete providing solutions for stormwater management in playgrounds, driveways and parking areas, as well as green-roof rainwater harvesting.
Global GreenTag® is one of the world’s most widely respected and recognised ecolabels and is awarded after passing a stringent approval process to verify that products are genuinely ‘green’. The global brands are scored against the six main sustainability assessment criteria (and another twenty plus life cycle and social criteria), namely; greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, health and ecotoxicity, life cycle analysis, synergy (product efficiency) and social responsibility and labour conditions.
“We have incorporated QR coding, which gives customers and architects peace of mind from instant product information and quality assurance,” says Lafarge’s Herbert Groenewald, Head of Building Marketing. “Building designers focused on achieving a high Green Star rating also obtain significant benefits from incorporating our products: as a customer value-added service, we provide GreenStar Office MAT5 calculations and documentation for concrete credits. For example, our concrete is able to qualify for 75% of floor and wall credits under the materials category in the Interior Fitout tool.”
“The development of these unique products, combined with our holistic backup service, differentiates Lafarge in the marketplace by enabling us to work closely with our customers and offer them better value solutions for their building needs,” adds Groenwald.
Typical uses of the unique Lafarge quality-assured ready-mixed concretes included the University of Cape Town’s New Engineering Building, which presented some construction challenges that couldn’t be met with conventional concrete. AgiliaTM Vertical self-compacting concrete provided the innovative solution for the architectural concept of concrete balustrades with a wood-grained off-shutter finish.
Lafarge’s innovative AgiliaTM Vertical was the solution for the challenging concrete balustrades in UCT’s NEB.
AgiliaTM Horizontal was used in the building’s main hall to cast a complex concrete floor base. This did away with the need for compaction, saving the contractor time and reduced labour requirements, as well as noise pollution on the University campus.
Impressive visual impact and durability were achieved in the New Engineering Building’s high traffic entrance foyer by using Lafarge Artevia™ Polish ready-mixed concrete, ground and polished to a beautiful, smooth marble-like finish that is slip-resistant.
In addition to its exceptional aesthetic characteristics, the strength and durability of Artevia™ Polish means it is also suitable for exterior use, such as stylish patios, walkways and pool surrounds. One of the largest and most outstanding projects was the paving for the Moses Mabida Stadium in Durban.
Beautiful and durable, Artevia™ Polish paves the way to the Moses Mabida Stadium in Durban.
The impressive Group Five headquarters in Waterfall Business Estate, Midrand, showed an interesting trend in the design of ‘green’ buildings with its use of Lafarge’s Global GreenTag® Hydromedia™. The product’s lightness, typically 70% of the weight of a standard concrete, combined with strength and durability makes it ideal for roof water harvesting.
Hydromedia™: a key part of the Group Five head office roof water harvesting scheme.
Developers and specifiers soon recognised that the initial premium for green building is outweighed by the longer-term benefits and contractors need to target GreenStar ratings to secure business. With the emergence of tenants increasingly demanding healthier, more energy-efficient environments, the benefits can in fact be realised far sooner in terms of higher-value leases for the property owners. It reflects in GreenStar rated buildings becoming virtually the norm among commercial building projects. Government departments are also displaying strong leadership in green awareness with environmental specifications featuring largely in infrastructure development tenders.
“In addition to the strong green trend for building construction, the South African building materials market has become highly competitive,” comments Van Niekerk. “But change and competition are facts of life and we have to be agile at adapting to it, as well as creative in anticipating the needs of our customers. We see green product innovation as a key Lafarge strength.”