SPARK director Stephen Pimbley highlights problems associated with today’s massive concrete and cement production at Vertical Cities Summit, Singapore

Stephen Pimbley chaired the Day 1 session and spoke at the plenary session of Day 2 of the recent 8th Annual Vertical Cities conference held at Singapore’s Marina Mandarin hotel.

Stephen highlighted the problems associated with today’s massive concrete and cement production. Concrete after water is the world’s most commonly used material,  it has a huge carbon footprint. There is an urgent need for the construction industry to adopt cleaner production practice as required by the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.Annual cement production over the last 30 years has globally quadrupled from nearly one billion to over 4 billion tonnes. In the next decade it is expected to increase a further 500m tonnes a year.

Stephen suggested that unless there is a dramatic change in the amount and type of buildings we construct cement emissions and the sheer quantum of concrete poured by “our industry” is going to have a catastrophic impact on our environment.“Concrete is how we have tamed nature. Our concrete structures protect us from the elements, but they have also entombed vast tracts of soil, constipated rivers, choked habitats and desensitised us from what is happening outside our increasingly urbanised cities. Our blue and green world is more rapidly than ever turning grey.”

“Like any good thing in excess – concrete is creating more problems than it solves”. Stephen showed SPARK’s “kerplunk” tower for Mumbai. A hybrid structural proposal that has a 40% recycled concrete core with a cross laminated timber structure and apartment units fabricated from recycled TetraPak cartons.