May 16, 2020

High Speed Two receives UK’s first BREEAM certificate for infrastructure

Sophie Chapman
2 min
HS2 wins BREEAM certificate for its sustainability efforts
The UK’s latest high-speed railway project (HS2) has become the first infrastructure project in the UK to be awarded a BREEAM certificate.

The projec...

The UK’s latest high-speed railway project (HS2) has become the first infrastructure project in the UK to be awarded a BREEAM certificate.

The project’s first stage, which connects London and the West Midlands, has won the certificate due to its sustainability.

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) is responsible for overseeing the certificate, awarded HS2 for “going beyond enhancement and protection of the environment, to address the key social and economic impacts of the development”.

“This is a first for the UK and it will set the standards for future infrastructure projects around the world,” said Chris Broadbent, Director of Infrastructure at BRE.


The HS2 was noted for its work with harmonising communities, focusing on health and wellbeing, and ensuring the project has economic benefits, as well as environment protection.

“We are very pleased to receive this BREEAM Infrastructure certificate,” remarked Peter Miller, Environment Director of HS2.

“Our goal with HS2 is to design and build the most sustainable high-speed railway of its kind in the world, working in partnership with our supply chain and local communities to leave a positive legacy for future infrastructure projects both in the UK and beyond.”

“This certificate is a testament to our sustainability commitments and to the lasting benefits of the HS2 project.”

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Jul 30, 2021

University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building

2 min
The Technical University of Dresden, collaborating with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the world’s first carbon fibre and concrete building

The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel. 

The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university. 

The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.

Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel. 

The design and shape of The Cube 

According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.

"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction. 

"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement. 

Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint

While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry. 


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