Ready mixed concrete
Tarmac is one of the UK's leading suppliers of ready mixed concrete. Supplying from over 147 plants in 2011, we are constantly developing our product range to enhance sustainability performance for customers.
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Tarmac’s range of ready mixed concretes is independently certified as ‘VERY GOOD’ against the BES 6001 Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products.
This certification enables customers who use our aggregates to gain extra points under the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment Scheme (CEEQUAL) and the Code for Sustainable Homes. It also reassures clients that the materials they are using have been produced responsibly across Tarmac’s business.
Our UK operations are also accredited to the Achilles BuildingConfidence scheme.
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Measuring carbon footprint
In 2011, Tarmac launched the industry’s first comprehensive Carbon Footprint Calculator. It enables us to provide customers with carbon footprint information for any product from any of our manufacturing locations in the UK.
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Carbon Trust Standard
In early 2011, our whole UK organisation achieved the Carbon Trust Standard for our management and CO2 reduction performance over the past two years. We have delivered this reduction across all our UK operations.
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Reducing energy and CO2 emissions
We have a longstanding commitment to reduce energy use in manufacturing and cut CO2. As well as our own efficiency programmes, we work on specific initiatives with external partners like the Carbon Trust.
We also focus on cutting the carbon footprint of concrete by reducing CO2 emissions from the cement production process. By using new technology and waste-derived fuels, we have achieved a 41% reduction in the CO2 emissions per tonne of cement* produced by our Tunstead works.
Our cement quality is also designed to allow the use of high levels of secondary cementitious materials, which can be used as a substitute for cement and lower the embodied CO2 while maintaining product quality. Over 70% of Tarmac’s ready mixed concrete mixes contain these cementitious materials, which are by-products from other industries, such as ground granulated blast furnace slag from steel manufacturing or fly ash from power stations.
* As Portland cement equivalent.
Tarmac understands concrete. Our expert teams can support customers in a number of areas, from understanding legislation and specification to advising on product selection and meeting project-specific technical and sustainability requirements. We also specialise in designing high-quality, bespoke product formulations.
Supply chain management
Tarmac has achieved BuildingConfidence accreditation and is a member of the Achilles BuildingConfidence governing council. We are committed to the underlying principles of BuildingConfidence and will require our supply chain to gain accreditation over the next few years. Tarmac is also a member of the Construction Product Association’s Green Procurement Group, which was set up in 2007 to deliver greater transparency and open dialogue between companies throughout the supply chain to achieve CO2, energy and waste reduction targets.
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We actively work to reduce the amount of water we use in the manufacture of our ready mixed concrete products. As well as significantly cutting the amount of potable (drinking) water we use, we have increased the amount of water recycled at our operations.
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Product quality and Certification
Our products are manufactured using quality and environmental management systems certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, so customers know that they are made with the utmost consideration for quality and the environment.
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Using recycled materials
To reduce embodied carbon and conserve natural resources, Tarmac incorporates recycled materials into its concrete products. Over 70% of our ready mixed concrete mixes contain secondary cementitious materials (such as ground granulated blast furnace slag) to replace a proportion of the cement normally used. Where appropriate, we also use recycled and secondary aggregates.
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Local presence, national distribution
Our national network of sites helps to minimise the transport miles involved in creating and delivering our products. We also use alternative methods of transport, such as low CO2 vehicles, where viable.
We are working with our contracted hauliers on a wide range of projects to improve transport efficiency. For example, we are encouraging the use of fuel-efficient vehicles, facilitating driver training to minimise fuel consumption and using logistics management systems to increase operational efficiencies.
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In-use and whole-life benefits
Reducing in-use carbon footprint
The CO2 footprint of buildings in use – from processes such as heating, cooling and lighting – is considerably greater than the CO2 footprint from the manufacture of the products used in their construction.
In fact, the materials used to create buildings can have a hugely beneficial impact on the whole-life CO2 emissions of the building. In particular, the use of concrete and concrete materials can significantly cut in-use CO2 emissions because of concrete’s high thermal mass properties. This approach underpins our efforts to cut the CO2 footprint of our concrete and to offer customers a range of increasingly low-carbon concretes. Our technical expertise and innovative products – such as Topforce, our fibre-reinforced range of high-strength concretes – also deliver durability, high performance and CO2 savings.
Concrete’s high thermal mass enables it to store and retain heat and then slowly release it in response to changing ambient temperatures. It helps to keep buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Harnessing the thermal mass of concrete in buildings reduces the need for heating in winter and also reduces the need for air conditioning to aid cooling in the summer. It does this by absorbing heat during the day and slowly releasing it at night when temperatures are cooler. In the winter, heat is absorbed by concrete from activities in the building and from the sun during the day; at night, it is gradually released to help keep constant, comfortable temperatures and minimise the need for additional heating. The net effect of using concrete’s high thermal mass is a large saving in energy needed for heating and cooling, significantly reducing the carbon footprint over the building’s lifetime.
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About 20% of the CO2 emitted during production of cement will be reabsorbed when the whole life of concrete is considered, a process called recarbonation. Calculations of concrete’s CO2 footprint, up to the point of delivery, do not take this whole-life effect into account.
Concrete is a very durable and robust material. It lasts a long time and is water resistant, fire resistant, strong and secure. Because it is so durable and long-lasting, it delivers value for money for clients and the public. As it very rarely needs to be replaced or maintained, it reduces the pressure on primary raw materials and the CO2 emissions associated with their extraction. Tarmac’s concrete product range has outstanding durability performance. In particular, our Toproc range of high-performance, high-strength concretes is designed to be longer lasting and to help deliver durability, corrosion resistance and reduced costs for customers over the product’s lifetime.
Flooding is an increasing challenge for the UK, with climate scientists predicting that more extreme weather events will make it a more important issue over the coming years. Concrete’s durability makes it highly flood resilient. It gives structural integrity to buildings and structures in flood situations and it resists water penetration, thereby preventing damage to property and lessening the impact of flooding on communities and the economy.
Concrete is fire resistant and does not burn, which means it helps customers to comply with fire safety requirements and building regulations. These properties also mean that using concrete improves site safety during construction and, in the event of a fire, reduces damage to a building or structure.
Concrete’s mass absorbs sound and provides very effective acoustic performance, which is particularly important in areas of high-density residential and office accommodation.
Concrete is also a highly recyclable material – it can be demolished, processed and reused in new applications. We have major operations to recycle waste from construction, demolition and excavation into new construction materials and products. This focus helps us – and our customers – to cut waste, preserve primary aggregates and improve materials efficiency.
Carbon Trust Standard
Tarmac’s UK business awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard.
Concrete slump monitoring technology
Innovative system ensures that concrete is delivered on site with just the right consistency.
Ready mixed concrete production process
See a diagram of how ready mixed concrete is produced.