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Comparing carbon footprints: Geotube® containers vs. rocks for shoreline protection

Geotube® containers or rocks?

Which do you think offers a lower carbon footprint when constructing a breakwater structure?

Knowing the carbon footprint of your breakwater project can play an important role in fully understanding the environmental impacts of a project as well as the energy required for its construction; including extraction, manufacturing, transportation, installation, etc.

There are many options and variables to consider when building a breakwater structure and as a result, carbon footprints can differ dramatically. In each case though, our carbon calculator performs a detailed analysis of lifecycle carbon emissions and helps to quantify the environmental impact of each approach.

So, what’s the answer? It’s often Geotube®. Here’s an example that shows why.

This situation considers a 930-metre-long, 1.8-metre-high breakwater structure to protect a section of Lake Ontario shoreline.

Transportation makes the difference

To create a rock breakwater, the material would have to be transported by a convoy of trucks from a quarry that is about 160 km away. A conservative estimate for the amount of rock required is about 13,600 tonnes.

A breakwater structure made of Geotube® containers, however, could be filled with sand that is dredged from the lake at the construction site. This approach dramatically reduces truck traffic and could also reduce the time required and cost to complete the project. The proposed Geotube® system would require about 10,000 cubic metres of sand to fill the containers to the required height.

Once all the factors are considered, our carbon calculator shows that the breakwall constructed from Geotube® containers, using locally dredged sand, can be built with a significantly smaller carbon footprint.

And the winner is:

Geotube® breakwater carbon footprint: 175 tonnes CO2

Rock breakwater carbon footprint: 2,824 tonnes CO2

Result: The Geotube® breakwater project is lower in overall carbon emissions by 2,649 tonnes

Shoreline protection webinar

Geotube® geotextile systems for reliable, resilient shoreline protection.

Once installed, Geotube® Shoreline Systems can provide significant advantages over conventional approaches

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