Lendlease adopts low-carbon concrete for construction of ‘The Reed’

21 Mar 2022

As investors become increasingly climate-conscious, demand for greater sustainability efforts in the built environment has risen exponentially. With construction materials accounting for 11% of carbon emissions globally, and concrete being the most widely used construction material in the world, Lendlease found one possible solution: low-carbon concrete.

Lendlease

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As investors become increasingly climate-conscious, demand for greater sustainability efforts in the built environment has risen exponentially. With construction materials accounting for 11% of carbon emissions globally, and concrete being the most widely used construction material in the world, Lendlease found one possible solution: low-carbon concrete.

Developing with our Mission Zero goals in mind, the Lendlease Chicago team identified ‘greener concrete’ as a means to reduce the carbon footprint of The Reed, a 41-story luxury residential tower set to crown Chicago’s South Loop. McHugh Concrete were able to meet our ambitious demands, substituting certain materials in the concrete’s production that, according to McHugh, led to a reduction in overall carbon emissions.

Operating in an industry that contributes to over a third of global carbon emissions annually, Lendlease continues to pioneer thought leadership to curb that statistic. Eamonn Connolly, Director of Engineering at McHugh, said: "This was the first project that we saw that had actual specifications that were targeted at the concrete aspect,” adding that sustainable initiatives like this one will continue to “…push and challenge us to do even better still in terms of embodied carbon.”

According to McHugh, the new concrete mix is not only more sustainable, but more durable, too: "If you have a denser, less permeable mix, you quantifiably reduce the rate of corrosion and extend the durability of your structure,” said Connolly, whose team predicts the product will last 30 years longer than conventional concrete. Evidently, performance and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, as even the lighter coloring of the low-carbon mix is said to contribute to the efficiency of the building’s temperature regulation, minimizing the energy strain on the structure’s HVAC system.

While the costs of the concrete are comparatively high, Lendlease Executive Manager of Chicago Development Ted Weldon is not phased, believing the final product will speak for itself: "[Lendlease] are willing to take slightly less of a return on investment to build a building that is… more efficient and constructed in a more-efficient manner."

Climate-forward building solutions are becoming second nature at Lendlease, as both existing and upcoming initiatives such as Clippership Wharf’s living shoreline and our upcoming development at 1 Java on Brooklyn’s waterfront serve as prime examples of how Lendlease is ‘futureproofing’ projects, adopting innovative techniques to combat the built environment’s impact on climate change. In talking about future projects, Ted reiterated how "It's important to us to be as innovative as we can, looking for all ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint when we build our buildings."

At Lendlease, sustainability is never an afterthought, but rather a core principle that guides the development of our projects. Our goal of absolute carbon neutrality by 2040 is a bold one, but through the adoption of innovative techniques such as low-carbon concrete, that goal is beginning to become a reality.

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