BZE and ISCA working to encourage low carbon cements

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) and the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia ( ISCA) are working together to encourage low carbon cements in Australian infrastructure.

BZE Media Release
Issued 20 February 2018

Australia could lead the world on zero carbon cement with the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s  Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme.

This follows the release of the BZE Rethinking Cement report that shows how Australia could develop the world’s first zero carbon cement industry, helping to wipe out 8% of all global emissions caused by making cement.

ISCA’s CEO Antony Sprigg said, “Our new IS Innovation Challenge will reward infrastructure projects that manage to replace at least 50% of Portland cement with alternative, low carbon cements.”

BZE’s Head of Research, Michael Lord, said, “We think that Australia can lead the world towards zero carbon cement, and ISCA’s new Innovation Challenge will make a big contribution to that.”

ISCA’s Infrastructure Sustainability Rating scheme will introduce two new incentives, aligned with BZE’s approach:

  • A new Innovation Challenge will encourage greater use of low-carbon content within Portland cement.
  • The updated Infrastructure Sustainability Materials Calculator for ISv2.0 will award points for the use of geopolymers – an alternative, low-carbon type of cement.

ISCA already rewards projects for replacing a proportion of Portland cement clinker with low-carbon alternatives such as waste fly ash. Their analysis indicates that IS rated projects have achieved an average of 21-25% Portland replacement.

However, Rethinking Cement presents many projects which have exceeded this level. For example, the Crossrail project, a new 100-kilometre railway across London, has achieved an average of 50% Portland cement replacement. And Australia’s newest airport, Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, was built mostly from low-carbon geopolymer concrete.

ISCA’s new innovation challenge is be available on the ISCA website.

Rethinking Cement can be downloaded free.


The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA)

  • ISCA is the peak body for sustainable infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand. It is a member-based, not-for-profit organisation that advances sustainability outcomes in infrastructure. The principal means by which ISCA advances sustainability is through the IS rating scheme, a third-party assured, performance-based reporting framework deployable throughout the asset life-cycle.
  • The IS rating scheme is currently being applied to more than $83 billion worth of infrastructure projects across Australia and New Zealand.
  • With infrastructure making up around half of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, implementation of the ISCA rating tool will help Australia reach its Paris Agreement commitments of 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2030.
  • The IS Materials Calculator it a tool that measures the environmental impact of materials used on infrastructure projects.

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is:

  • A volunteer-led climate solutions think tank that shows a zero emissions Australia is achievable and affordable now
  • Ranked in the top 100 ‘Best Independent Think Tanks in the world’ by the Lauder Institute
  • Producing blueprints for Australia to become a thriving zero emissions economy
  • BZE’s Rethinking Cement, published in August 2017, presents 5 strategies to eliminate emissions from the cement sector. It is the first report in the world too show how this can be done.

Cement: the facts:

  • Cement making produces 8% of all global carbon emissions; or more than the global car fleet.
  • As limestone is heated in a cement kiln it decomposes, releasing carbon dioxide. This chemical reaction is the source of 55% of cement emissions, and over 4% of all global emissions. As long as cement is made from heating limestone, carbon emissions are unavoidable.
  • Burning fossil fuels to create the high temperatures required for processing makes up another 32% of cement emissions; and the other 13% is indirect emissions from electricity needed to grind and transport material within the manufacturing plant.
  • Making one tonne of cement in Australia produces 0.82 tonnes of carbon dioxide, or slightly less than the global average,
  • Geopolymer cements, which can be made without limestone, can reduce cement carbon emissions by up to 90%, and high-blend cements can reduce emissions by up to 70%.
  • Examples of Australian structures that use modern cements include the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Swan Street Bridge retaining walls in Melbourne, and the Pixel Building in Melbourne.

Media contacts

  • ISCA – Charlotte Connell, Engagement Manager t: 0488 592 555
  • BZE – Michael Lord, Head of Research t: 0402 904 465.


By |2018-02-21T10:58:04+00:0020 Feb 2018|Media Release|Comments Off on BZE and ISCA working to encourage low carbon cements