Geosynthetics – A Sustainable Construction Material


S T G Ng
G and E Company Limited, Hong Kong


Geosynthetic is a broad term given to geotextile, geomembrane, geogrid, geocell etc. It’s provenance in the 60’s was primarily the cut of construction cost and time. Ubiquitous savings were evidenced over the years. Several decades later, a new age of sustainable construction is dawning, in preserving resource, mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, the best of both worlds in cost effectiveness and sustainability. But how sustainable is with the use geosynthetics. Carbon footprint assessment has been introduced to quantify any hindsight. From resin production, to manufacturing, to shipment and from site installation, to operation, to maintenance and eventually to dismantling and disposal, equivalent CO2 emission can be traced and calculated. This paper reviews some of the trends and studies on this emission benchmark development, and therefore the comparison of CO2 emission between different methods of construction with geosynthetic and that of the conventional. The picture, indeed, underpins cogent discussion. It is hoped that a change of local mind set to appreciate geosynthetic, to accept its design, to review construction rule and regulation and to educate the next generation can be way forward to underline geosynthetic as a viable sustainable construction material.

September 17, 2022
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