Sustainability is a predominant subject for the construction industry and consequently for building with precast concrete elements too. Reason enough for Karla Knitter and Kristin Hanneforth of BFT International to follow the invitation from Brüninghoff to attend the ninth impulse event. Here, four experts informed around 170 participants under the heading „Green concrete – a question of perspective?“ about digitalization, sustainability and recovery of secondary raw materials. Venue was the new Brüninghoff precast concrete plant in Heiden which will be completed by the end of the year. It is the first of its kind throughout Europe, because it is focusing on both an emission reduced manufacturing process and the use of recycled concrete as well as the production of hybrid building components.
Green concrete – a question of perspective?
Showing trends in the industry and transferring knowledge: This is the purpose for which the Brüninghoff Group has already started the impulse series of events in 2014. It is, among others, addressed to investors, planners and building contractors. Now, the ninth impulse event was discussing the topic „green concrete - a question of perspective?“. About 170 participants followed the invitation and came to the headquarters in Heiden.
Venue was the new precast concrete plant which will be completed here by the end of the year and will then start production next year. In this way, Brüninghoff deliberately chose a place dealing with the topic of the event. General manager, Frank Steffens, presented the concept of the production: „It is not about producing a little bit sustainably here or there. The entire concept is holistically oriented towards sustainability.“ This includes the reduction of CO2 emissions by switching to CEM III as well as the use of recycled materials. Moreover, the use of concrete itself is reduced. This is made possible by the combination with wood to a hybrid structure. Other aspects are the use of processing water in the production and digital procedures in quality management as well as avoiding landfill waste. „These comprehensive package initiates the structural transformation in the production of precast concrete elements. Brüninghoff opts for trend-setting standards and new benchmarks in the industry,“ states Steffens.
Separate planning company
Christian Langenhövel, general manager of Plansite GmbH & Co. KG, also addressed the objectives of the group of companies as well as the potential for influence of the construction industry. He explained the reasons behind the spin-off of the integral planning division of Brüninghoff into a separate planning company. By means of specific examples, he demonstrated particular applications and building concepts oriented towards sustainability from the planning point of view.
Live linkup from Austria
Hubert Rhomberg, CEO and co-owner of the Rhomberg Group, joined live per video screen. He highlighted the role of the construction industry and warned that insular thinking cannot lead to the development of sustainable solutions. „Construction will remain a regional task and this is a good thing,“ says Rhomberg. In order to break up patterns and to make progress, a shared transfer of know-how is indispensable, according to him. Collaboration can achieve an increase in efficiency already in the early stages of the project and can establish consistent circular thinking in the industry.
Input from research
This idea of circular thinking was taken up by Dr. Volker Thome, head of department at Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, in his speech on innovative processing methods for construction waste. The main focus was on the recovery of secondary raw materials. Thome presented the current state of research, describing, among others, the electrodynamic fragmentation. He also explained which problems may occur, for example, in respect of using mineral secondary raw materials and how these problems could be resolved.
Steffens was happy about the successful impulse event held in Heiden: „The great interest in this topic shows us that not only approaches of a circular economy are increasingly being discussed, but that people are also actively looking for specific solutions and products.
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