August 24

Ultra low emissions concrete in Victoria


Concrete emissions are between 10-13% of total global carbon emissions, and low embodied carbon materials are an essential piece of the sustainability transition.

This newly released concrete from ACM achieves 70% recycled content, 70-75% Portland (OPC) cement reduction, and 50-60% less embodied CO2 – Melbourne Green Star projects now have more options for significantly reducing embodied carbon.


This world leading technology has been quietly researched and developed in Australia over 20 years at the University of Melbourne, and other leading scientific and engineering institutions. ACM has taken the risk of commercialisation R&D development and awaits the market response. Over the last 15 years ACM and its partners have invested nearly $2M in developing a carbon reduced alternative to traditional concrete, called ULTRA.

Is the building industry ready to embrace reduced embodied emissions? This commercially available ultra low OPC concrete is now available for small or large projects in most Melbourne suburbs.

I have followed low emissions concrete technology with great interest for a long time as en ESD engineer, as similar custom mixes have been extensively tested and trialed for over two decades in numerous Australian building and infrastructure projects, and I’m now very happy it is available on demand.

Projects that have used ULTRA include:

  • Swan Street Bridge, Richmond;
  • Thomastown recreation and Aquatic Centre;
  • Melton Library, and:
  • Regional Rail Link.

Not only does it have reduced embodied carbon – the physical durability and mechanical properties are usually improved compared to standard OPC mixes.

This product makes Victoria a world leader in commercially available low embodied carbon concretes. Essentially this product looks and acts like standard concrete. Note though the usual green concrete disclaimers apply, in that setting times may vary, so contact the supplier to ensure that your project pour scheduling is correct.

In Green Star – Buildings terms, this product would be eligible to claim up to 19 green star points for a project that used it extensively (especially if combined with low embodied carbon steel and aluminum).

Primarily six points are available for meeting the “Reducing Upfront Carbon Emissions” credit – exceptional performance. If the building’s upfront carbon emissions are at least 40% less than those of a reference building. The building’s upfront carbon emissions reductions must occur through good design and material selection. Note Projects cannot claim these points with Carbon offsets.

The first Green Star projects to use this product would be eligible to claim leadership and other points – this is a market transformation opportunity to adopt a product that is a step change in reducing concrete environmental impacts.

My quick review of total green star building points for extensive use of this product:

  • 6 Points upfront carbon
  • 5 Points Responsible Structure
  • 1 Point Market Transformation
  • 1 Point as part of the climate positive buildings leadership challenge
  • 3 Points as part of the circular economy leadership challenge
  • 1 Point for exceptional performance in the responsible products leadership challenge.
  • 2 Points for Life Cycle Impacts

So up to 19 points could take the Green Star project up a whole star.

For more information see the supplier website— Aurora Construction Materials or chat to us.

#GBCA #GSAP #GreenStar #GreenBuilding #ZeroEmissions #Transition #GreenStarPerformance #Electrification

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