Lafarge Canada is co-funding a low-carbon concrete design research project at Queen’s University and providing the company’s specially designed ECOpact concrete to the initiative.
According to a release from Lafarge, the project, which aligns with their “decarbonization strategy” and brings together a number of industry partners, is led by Dr. Neil Hoult, a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Queen’s University, along with:
- Josh Woods, Assistant Professor at Queen’s;
- Evan Bentz, Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Toronto, and;
- Dr. John Orr, Assistant Professor in Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Cambridge.
“At Lafarge, we value partnerships that connect all of the contributors to NetZero construction, in this case, we are collaborating with the Owner, the Architect and the Construction Manager in a new way to achieve our shared sustainability goals,” stated Rob Cumming, Head of Sustainability for Lafarge Canada (East).
According to Abdurahman Lotfy, Innovation & Development Manager of Aggregates & Construction Materials at Lafarge Canada, Lafarge is excited to participate in a project like this one.
“It fits perfectly into our green growth roadmap,” Lotfy said. “The integration of our mix design expertise through our ECOPact concrete product line coupled with smart structural engineering design will allow for much lower embodied carbon than would be possible otherwise. This models the sort of partnerships we need to foster innovation in building design and advance our sustainability targets.”
The bulk of the research will be done in the Queen’s Civil Engineering labs, according to Lafarge. Moving from the lab to practical applications, the project will be taken into the real world in Kingston.
“We will be working on several different approaches to making concrete lower carbon. The first is shape optimization, in other words only putting material only where we need material, which saves on not only material use, but also structure weight. If the structure is lighter, then you need even less material,” said Dr. Hoult.
“The second is what is known as functionally graded concrete. We put concrete with higher strength where we need the strength, then we use lower strength concrete (which also means lower cement concrete) everywhere else. We will be working on software packages that allow for these new techniques to be used in the design, optimizing structures for performance and low environmental impact.”
“Aecon and Lafarge will help us build it, and it’s all going to happen at the Kingston Fire and Rescue Training Centre,” Hoult concluded. “It’s going to be both actively used by Kingston’s Fire Services as a classroom and as a living lab so that Queen’s and St. Lawrence College students can come and learn about low-carbon buildings. We’re aiming for a net-zero building philosophy.”