Using the ‘Carbon Calculator’ Atkins recently completed a comparison study for a three-span 84m long road bridge which has shown that the steel – composite option has a 25% smaller carbon footprint than the pre-stressed concrete option.

Reported in ‘New Steel Construction’ February 2011, the publication warns that while this may not be the same for all steel versus concrete structures, it shows the potential of steel to be the better carbon solution provided the design is optimised.

The Carbon Calculator is a ‘spreadsheet tool’ developed by Atkins on behalf of Tata Steel (UK) and BCSA to determine the carbon footprint of steel composite and concrete bridges. The Calculator is available as a free download from BSCA