Concrete is a sustainable material

Sustainability is about standing the test of time and balancing the three sustainability aspects: economy, environment, and social.










Roads, bridges, tunnels, water treatment plants, power plants, homes, schools, hospitals, offices, etc., are necessary structures that are built every day and will continue to be built into the foreseeable future. However, building and maintaining those structures have an impact on the environment. All building materials have an environmental impact..


This is the classic dilemma between the social and economic sustainability aspects – meeting the need for housing, mobility, electricity and water supply, etc., – and the environmental aspects – use of resources and the impact on our environment, and climate and biodiversity, etc.


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Sustainable construction calls to mind a design that is sustainable, i.e., able to withstand a certain load and use over time without breaking. It’s also about living in a way that does not deplete natural resources and does not destroy the climate and environment in the long run. In other words, sustainable construction is much more than just a question of robust materials and a solid design, although it is probably both economically and ecologically more advantageous to invest in buildings that will be used for many years than to demolish and build new ones at short intervals.”

Informationscentrum för hållbart byggande (ICHB) - The Information Centre for Sustainable Construction Thomas arrow Light green


There is and will always be a need for construction

The need for new housing and infrastructure is significant, not just globally, but also in Sweden.. According to the latest forecast from Boverket – the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning – Sweden will need 640,000 new homes during the ten-year period from 2018 to 2027, or about 64,000 new homes per year up to 2027.  

At the same time, a number of major infrastructure projects such as the Stockholm Bypass, expansion of the Stockholm underground, the West Link in Gothenburg and the East Link between Gothenburg and Stockholm are all due to be completed.


Concrete is a prerequisite if all these projects are to achieve long-term sustainability.


Maximize and minimize

Sustainable construction is about maximizing the benefits, function and performance and minimizing the negative impact throughout the lifetime of a building.



 Minimera Maximera Thomas Concrete Group



The right material in the right place

Currently, there is a tendency for certain building material, timber, to be prescribed in a construction project. This practice limits the consideration of other materials and inhibits development.


Developers and regulators should set material-neutral requirements, allowing for material selection to center around the function and the life cycle of the structure. Material manufacturers will then continue to develop new, innovative, and climate-optimized products on an equal footing, leaving the market to choose the most suitable material. All materials have their advantages and disadvantages. The right material for a project is the material that effectively meets the needs of the structure and best contributes to long-term sustainable construction.


Assess and decide

The environmental impact of construction needs to be assessed on the basis of the function and performance of the building and from a life cycle perspective.


In order to determine whether a building material is sustainable, the economic, social and environmental aspects of the material over the lifetime of the building need to be evaluated and weighed.


Boverket's and Trafikverket's regulations set minimum requirements for function and performance. Developers and property owners often impose more stringent requirements that can complement the governing framework. These requirements can involve, for instance, strict demands on service life, fire protection and noise reduction.


To address these requirements, the following assessments can be used: Life Cycle Assessments (LCA)   Thomas arrow Light green  och olika Certification and Assessment Systems  Thomas arrow Light green


 Thomas Concrete Group Sustainability 7


Concrete is a sustainable material

Concrete meets stringent sustainability requirements from a life cycle perspective. Concrete has many properties that are prerequisites for sustainable construction.


In its project Brf Viva in Gothenburg Riksbyggen has carried out life cycle assessments on different building materials and solutions. Based on these studies, Riksbyggen has actively chosen concrete as the material for the structural frame and has thus demonstrated that concrete is a sustainable material.


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“It’s a great honor that Brf Viva has been named Environmental Building of the Year at the Sweden Green Building Awards. This win is proof of the work that Riksbyggen and all our partners have put in to create a unique housing project in which many solutions from the field of sustainability have been tested for the first time.”

Michael Ekberg, Regional Manager at RiksbyggenThomas arrow Light green


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När livslängd och underhåll räknas Thomas arrow Light green
Tidskriften Betong 4-18. Margareta Redlund Laninge. 


Livscykeln – sanningen om stommaterialen. Thomas arrow Light green 
Mellanrum 2017, Roger Andersson


Energi och klimateffektiva byggsystem Miljövärdering av olika stomalternativThomas arrow Light green
SP 2015, Eva-Lotta Kurkinen, Joakim Norén, Diego Penaloza, Nadia Al-Ayish, Otto During


Klimagassregnskap av tre- og betongkonstruksjoner
Kontorbygning - 4, 8 og 16 etasjer.
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Østfoldforskning 2019, Anne Rønning, Kjersti Prestrud, Lars G. F. Tellnes, Simon Saxegård, Simen S. Haave, Magne Lysberg


Minskad klimatpåverkan från flerbostadshus LCA av fem byggsystemThomas arrow Light green
Sveriges Byggindustrier 2018, Tove Malmqvist, Martin Erlandsson, Nicolas Francart, Johnny Kellner


Emission Omissions: Carbon accounting gaps in the built environment.  Thomas arrow Light green
© 2019 International Institute for Sustainable Development
Seton Stiebert, Daniella Echeverría, Philip Gass, Lucy Kitson


Concrete is a durable material with a long life cycle. It requires minimal maintenance and can withstand the toughest challenges, including moisture, fire, noise, and extreme weather. Concrete has a high thermal inertia, which means that the temperature in a concrete building is stable, even when the outside temperature varies. The high density of concrete also means that heat loss is minimized. That results in low energy consumption, without the extra need for heating or cooling. This saves money and minimizes the impact on the environment over the lifetime of the building.


arrow blue Absorbs CO2

Concrete does so spontaneously, throughout its entire lifetime, without impairment. Look around you, all exposed concrete you see absorbs CO2, and thereby helps to remove CO2 from our atmosphere. During the concrete life cycle up to 20 % of the CO2 emissions, is being absorbed back.

arrow blue 100 % recyclable

Concrete is well adapted to a circular economy. Crushed concrete can be recycled as aggregates for newly produced concrete or be used as base layer in road constructions. In addition, crushed concrete absorbs even more CO2.

arrow blue Strong and durable

Concrete has been used as a key construction material for thousands of years due to its durability and flexibility. Properly designed buildings last for a long time with a minimum need of maintenance, making concrete a sustainable construction material.

arrow blue Locally produced

Ready-mixed concrete is always produced locally, with locally sourced materials, leading to short transportation distances.

arrow blue Energy efficient

Due to the thermal mass and airtight nature of concrete homes, the temperatures inside remain stable, despite the outdoor weather. Therefore, concrete buildings have low energy consumption which reduces the need of extra heating and cooling.

arrow blue Does not burn

Concrete is fire resistant. Concrete cannot be set on fire or emit toxic fumes during exposure to fire. Firemen and insurance companies agree that concrete is an optimal building material.

arrow blue Does not mold

Concrete is an inorganic and water resilient material. Meaning that it cannot mold or rot. Concrete is therefore not effected by water leakages and climate changes that may lead to increased frequency of flooding, storms and precipitation.

arrow blue Helps you sleep better

The extraordinary sound insulating properties of concrete creates quiet and peaceful homes. You will be less bothered by disturbing traffic noise or your next-door neighbours.

Pantheon Thomas Concrete GroupThere are few building materials with properties that are as well documented as concrete, through both experience and long-term use.






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CO2 uptake in cement containing products Background and calculation models for IPCC implementationThomas arrow Light green
Håkan Stripple Christer Ljungkrantz Tomas Gustafsson Ronny Andersson


Betong sparar energi. Betong — ett hållbart, lufttätt material som kan lagra energi och ger förutsättningar för energieffektiv drift  Thomas arrow Light green
2015. Svensk Betong.


Trög betongstomme minskar energianvändningen och möjliggör fördröjning av effektuttagThomas arrow Light green
Anders Rönneblad, tekn lic, Cementa AB, Malmö, och Kajsa Byfors, projektledare, Svensk Betong, Stockholm. Bygg & teknik 7/12 53


Betong begränsar bränder.  Thomas arrow Light green
Mars 2018. Svensk Betong


Betong uppfyller kraven för högsta brandsäkerhetsklassThomas arrow Light green


Betong påverkas inte av fukt  Thomas arrow Light green


Betong ger god ljudmiljö inomhus.  Thomas arrow Light green
Mars 2018. Svenska Betong


Concrete and carbon dioxide  arrow green

Although concrete has many properties that are prerequisites for sustainable construction, concrete also has an environmental impact. This is mainly due to emissions of carbon dioxide from the production of cement, which is one of the binders in concrete.


The concrete industry in Sweden is aiming to bring climate-neutral concrete to the market by 2030, and for all concrete in Sweden to be climate neutral by 2045. This work is progressing under the Swedish Concrete Initiative project. Read more at Thomas arrow Light green.


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Team Thomas is actively contributing to building a sustainable society.

Our ambition is to be an industry leader in providing sustainable products and services. We are working to reduce our environmental impact and increase the material’s service life, function, and performance. We are driving the development towards climate-neutral concrete.

We are The Concrete Specialists.