Meeting the demand for low carbon footprint concrete


Lafarge Readymix has become established as the leading readymix concrete solution provider, regardless of the construction challenge. Backed by the unequalled technical resources of the global parent Lafarge group, a world leader in building materials, the company has introduced a wide range of innovative concretes to the local construction industry, transforming building practices and productivity. 

Lafarge's Low CO2 concrete, or ‘green' concrete, has been developed to support contractor clients in meeting South Africa's increasingly stringent environmental protection standards, which are aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of our built environment. It is becoming the norm for prestigious office building projects to be designed and built to achieve both ‘Office Design v1' and ‘As Built v1' Green Star ratings from the Green Building Council of South Africa. Progressive developers are setting targets for low energy usage, greener footprint buildings and every aspect of design, construction and materials is coming under scrutiny for its impact on the environment.


While concrete is intrinsically ‘green' by virtue of being chemically inert and almost infinitely recyclable, Lafarge Readymix offers a range of mix options to improve the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission  and sustainability performance of concrete even further. "The challenge is to achieve the physical properties expected from concrete, in terms of strength, workability, durability and an aesthetically attractive finish while securing the ‘green' credits necessary for the target Green Star SA rating," explains Darren Jacobs, Lafarge Regional Quality Manager.  "We create concrete that meets all the end-users' performance expectations, although we use a fundamentally different mix design approach to gain the added sustainability benefits."


Improving the CO2 performance of concrete focuses primarily on reducing the impact of the high CO2 emissions arising from the traditional cement clinker production process. By incorporating clinker replacement products with negligible carbon footprints in the concrete mix, such as fly ash or slag, CO2 performance is enhanced and the consumption of non-renewable raw materials and fossil fuels is reduced. Fly ash is a reactive cementitious by-product of South Africa's pulverised-coal fired power stations, while slag is a by-product of the steel manufacturing industry.

The Green Star SA Rating system, operated by the Green Building Council of South Africa, is currently the only rating system in South Africa for sustainable construction.  "For concrete as a construction material, the Green Star ratings vary depending on whether the product is conventional in-situ concrete, precast or stressed concrete," says Jacobs. "However, the same principle applies to all applications where a single ‘green' credit is awarded for achieving a minimum percentage clinker reduction and a further credit for an even higher specified clinker reduction.


Depending on the application, we can earn clients a third credit by incorporating recycled aggregate in the concrete."


Currently, for a standard structural application, a single ‘green' credit point is awarded if the clinker content of the concrete is reduced by 30%, and a second point is awarded if the clinker content is reduced by 60% compared with a standard reference mix. Lafarge has a range of Low CO2 mixes, to suit the application and meet the requirements of the customer.  These products are in line with the Green Star SA rating system and offer solutions with reduction in clinker content up to 60%, as well as the replacement of virgin natural stone with recycled aggregates.


The Vodacom Innovation Centre in Midrand recently became the first building in South Africa to be awarded the prestigious 6-Star Green Star SA rating.  Lafarge Readymix was a proud contributor to the 6-Star award by supplying a Low CO2 concrete grade concrete mix that met the specified 60% clinker reduction.

"Offering innovative sustainable solutions for concrete construction is a key strength of Lafarge Readymix," adds Jacobs. "In the last two years, we have seen an increasing trend for developers to see the reward in providing cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly buildings for their tenants. We anticipated the movement to sustainable construction and are more than able to support clients wanting to achieve ‘green star' status for their buildings."


Lafarge's innovative range of products includes: Hydromedia, a stormwater drainage solution, Agilia, a self-compacting concrete, Extensia, a low shrinkage concrete and the decorative range of Artevia products.



About Lafarge

Lafarge is the world-leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in its Cement, Aggregates & Concrete businesses. The Group has 68 000 employees in 64 countries and, in 2011, posted sales of 15,2 billion Euros.


For the second year in a row, Lafarge ranked amongst the Top 10 of 500 companies evaluated by the "Carbon Disclosure Project" in recognition of their strategy and actions against global warming. With the world's leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity.

Additional information is available on the website at









For further information, please contact:


Charlene Lamb

Country Communications Manager

Lafarge South Africa



Issued by :

Bridget von Holdt

Inzalo Communication

Tel : 011 646-9992 / 082 6100650