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Concrete Pipes


Sustainable Drainage Systems


The need for sustainable drainage in construction is driving change within all areas of the industry. With more pressure on companies to evaluate the environmental and social impacts of their businesses, there is an increasing demand in both water and wastewater sectors to understand how sustainability can be implemented. In this context, sustainable drainage systems will include the design, installation and operation of pipelines in addition to the more common interpretation of the term "SuDS".

Concrete pipeline manufacturers realised the scale of the challenge at an early stage and have been implementing a range of sustainable drainage measures on an ongoing basis.

Carbon Footprinting - the facts

A detailed research programme was set up by CPSA to look at the carbon footprint of our products and to establish how they compare to other types of pipeline products and construction methods. The study was audited by independent consultants Carbon Clear. The result is a set of three reports covering ( Report 1) the carbon footprint of concrete pipes and manholes (Report 2) how concrete pipes compare to plastic pipes and (Report 3) a comparison between circular precast concrete manhole systems and other solutions.

In order to comply with the requirements of PAS 2050, a peer review has been carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

The cradle-to-gate carbon footprint of concrete pipes ranges from 16.36 to 559 kg CO 2e/metre (DN225 up to DN2100) which is 20-60% lower than the values for generic precast concrete derived from many industry databases. The cradle-to-site greenhouse gas emissions of concrete pipes were found to be generally better than plastic pipes and up to 35% lower CO 2e for DN2100 pipes. The reports also demonstrate that DN1200 circular precast manhole systems have 30 to 43% lower carbon footprint compared to DN1200 traditional manholes, 1250 x 1250mm box based manholes and DN1050 plastic manholes.

Pipes Life Cycle Assessment Study

In 1999 independent leading Dutch consultancy INTRON was commissioned to carry out a cradle-to-grave comparative environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study for seven types of sewer designs in the UK. These included concrete, clay, solid wall PVC pipes, twin wall PVC pipes, Ultrarib, twin wall polypropylene, and spirally wound HDPE pipes. Findings of the study can be found here. Initial findings indicate that concrete was overwhelmingly the favourite over other pipeline materials.

This study proves why it is essential that all sustainability claims are based on an appropriate recognised methodology with a clear declaration of system boundaries, scope and study conditions.


If you require more information on Sustainable Drainage Systems, contact us today