The sustainability of a reinforced concrete structure depends on a wide range of factors including its embodied energy and carbon footprint. Such factors are important considerations when building a new structure, or repairing an existing structure.
Corrosion is a degradation process which limits the service life of buildings and infrastructure and represents the main threat to asset integrity and durability. For existing structures, corrosion control solutions such chloride extraction, realkalisation and cathodic protection represent attractive alternatives to conventional concrete repair, and provide specific environmental benefits by:
- Reducing carbon dioxide emissions and overall cost by greatly reducing the amount of repair material and waste disposal.
- Providing a longer maintenance-free operational life which reduces the carbon footprint of the structure.
For new structures, incorporating cathodic prevention into the construction phase is the optimum environmental choice. Cathodic prevention leads to a more cost effective system with lower embodied energy. Cathodic prevention, in conjunction with appropriate material selection and good construction practices, can substantially prevent corrosion and its impact on the environment by eliminating the need for major rehabilitation work during the service life of the structure.
Proper application of corrosion protection and prevention measures create an ideal opportunity not only to maintain the serviceability of the structures and reduce maintenance cost, but also to preserve the structural integrity of the asset, increase its value as well as improve safety, environment preservation and energy savings.