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ment and outreach, so both environmental and social
sustainability of a project are considered.
Steps taken toward reducing environmental impact may
also have a natural positive affect on economic costs.
Reducing energy usage on a project would reduce the
environmental impact and may also reduce the overall
project cost. Likewise, reducing material quantities is a win
for both profit and planet. As an example, soil mixing may be a
more favorable solution compared with replacing soil with
concrete for some projects and ground conditions. Instead of
replacing the soil with concrete (aggregate, cement, water)
only the necessary cement is added. Transporting soil and
material on/off site is minimized or may be omitted
completely. Both positive effects on costs and greenhouse gas
emissions can be calculated reliably.
As an industry, we cannot sustain if we
continue implementing design and
construction practices that negatively
affect our ability to continue growing our
industry for future generations.
Current Trends and Tools
Efforts to develop more sustainable options in foundation
engineering grow year after year. Reducing material usage
and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are two important
efforts that could be implemented on a project today.
Particularly, efficient construction methods or precise
quality-control systems to reduce geometric margins can
contribute greatly to the sustainability of a project.
One way to reduce material usage is to reuse existing
foundations. This of course creates new engineering
problems to solve, such as how to quantify engineering
properties with limited project information and how to
incorporate risk and uncertainty into those calculations. New
practices for logging and sharing relevant site data are the
basis for continued growth in reusing foundations, as well as
new technical solutions to determine reliable in-site
foundation and soil conditions.
As outlined above, for targeting reduced greenhouse gas
emissions, we must first understand the cost of current
practices and procedures. One tool that can be used is a carbon
calculator. The European Federation of Foundation
Contractors (EFFC) teamed with DFI to develop this tool, which
can be downloaded and used to compare competing internal
design options or even external proposals (see page 87).
Conclusion
To achieve a more sustainable future for foundation
engineering, we must understand the economic, social and
environmental impacts of our design choices. We must
consider not only the geostructural design of our systems, but
also the way we approach a project from start to finish. While
we wait for development of new systems and procedures, we
must also look at current practice to make decisions today
that better prepare us for the future.
Cooperation based on partnership also affects sustainability.
If the persons involved in construction succeed in
working together more effectively and unobstructed, then it is
also possible to construct a sustainable structure, e.g., with a
much smaller carbon footprint.
Karsten Beckhaus is a civil engineer with a Ph.D. from the Technical
University in Munich. At Bauer, Beckhaus is a member of the
management board and head of the business services division,
assisting projects worldwide in specialist technical consulting, design,
logistics and equipment tasks.
Melissa Beauregard works as a professional geotechnical engineer
and has research and design experience with traditional and
sustainable geotechnical systems. She currently works at Exponent in
Denver as a senior engineer where she provides technical analysis in
support of civil litigation.
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November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November/December 2022

TOC
November/December 2022 - Intro
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