Sustainability aspects of using geotextiles

Sustainability of materials and processes are commonly assessed by calculating the carbon emissions (CO2) generated. This is a simplification but the ease of calculation encourages comparisons of solutions, makes outputs of assessments accessible, transparent and repeatable, and CO2 savings can readily be counted towards industry, national and international targets. This chapter describes a framework for calculating embodied carbon of construction solutions that incorporate geotextiles. It outlines carbon footprinting techniques and common definitions, presents examples of embodied carbon for geotextile materials, defines life cycle boundaries and presents example calculations for common construction case studies: Protection, working platform and landfill capping. All three examples demonstrate the significant CO2 savings that can result from employing geotextiles. These savings are realised through reducing the amount of imported fill material used and this minimises the transport related carbon emissions. The approach introduced can be used to undertake site specific calculations that inform decisions on selection of construction approaches that contribute to sustainable practice.