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

DATE POSTED: February 28, 2022

Geotube 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.

Geotube Carbon Calculation - Shoreline System

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.

Download the detailed carbon footprint calculation.

Learn more about Geotube® Shoreline Protection.

Contact us to discuss your shoreline protection project and for a detailed carbon footprint calculation of a Geotube® breakwater structure vs. other approaches.

Geotube shoreline system protects historic New Jersey lighthouse

DATE POSTED: January 27, 2021

Over the past several decades, the shoreline around the East Point Lighthouse has receded continually, posing a major threat to the more-than-170-year-old landmark. Despite the creation of a dune system designed to protect against erosion and rising sea levels, the ocean is nearly at the building’s doorstep. In March of 2018, a severe storm severely compromised the dune system forcing municipal work crews to hastily pile sandbags along the shoreline in front of the lighthouse. 

But a better solution with more longevity was needed. Later that year, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection began a project to install 600 feet of Tencate Geotube™ to reduce the risk of further erosion and help restore a natural, living shoreline.

Eight Geotube containers were laid end to end to cover the distance. Each was filled with sand and set on top of a scour apron held in place with anchor tubes. The scour apron is a critical part of the system, extending several feet beyond the Geotube to prevent wave action from compromising the shoreline under the structure. The lee side of the structure is further protected with Tencate sand filled mattresses, which are designed to remain exposed, endure abrasion and UV light, and also trap and hold soil on the surface to help establish a covering layer of vegetation. 

Unlike conventional sandbags, a Geotube container is massive. In this case, a sand-filled Geotube is five feet high, 10 feet wide and weighs more than 3,000 pounds. Once the Geotube is set in place, it’s virtually immovable and can withstand waves, wind, abrasion and impact. 

The new Geotube shoreline system was covered with sand to help create a coastal dune habitat, protect the inland wetlands from erosion and prevent the ocean from advancing further towards the historic lighthouse. 

Learn more about Geotube containers for shoreline protection.

Contact us  to discuss Geotube containers for your shoreline protection project. 

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More than a sandbag: Geotube® containers protect shorelines, restore beaches, create wetlands and more.

DATE POSTED: April 28, 2020

What does a beach restoration in the U.S., a jetty in Ecuador, and an underwater structure used in Germany to contain dredge spoils have in common? 

All are examples of Geotube® containers as a durable, reliable solution to diverse problems in land and marine management around the world.

Reliable shoreline protection under the toughest conditions

Protecting or reclaiming land, especially where weather cycles take their toll, can be an uphill, expensive and never-ending battle with conventional technologies. Worse, uncertainty is always a concern. Waves, heat, ice and debris can wreak havoc on structures built with earth, stone or concrete, shifting individual components over time and weakening the integrity of the structure.

Geotube® containers are a proven, cost-effective solution that not only protects shorelines from erosion, but rebuilds beaches and reclaims land from bodies of water for recreational, residential and industrial purposes. From dykes and groynes to beaches and wetlands, Geotube® containers have been customized to the diverse needs of clients world-wide.

In many cases, they can be installed for half the cost of armour stone or rip rap and will provide a stronger and more reliable structure. They can also be equipped with a high-impact Debris Shield for rough waters.  

Filling with local materials helps reduce costs and CO2 emissions 

One of the reasons for the lower cost of a Geotube shoreline system is because it can often be filled on site with a slurry mix of sand and water, introduced hydraulically into the units. This reduces transportation and installation costs and can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a project.

The single, massive structure, can be installed on shore, or in deep water and is virtually immovable once in place. This provides an environmentally sound shoreline protection solution that can be covered with natural materials and restore shoreline or create wetlands habitat.

For more than 50 years, Geotube has protected shorelines, restored beaches and reclaimed land from bodies of water around the world, including in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Germany, the Netherlands and Bahrain.

Let Bishop Water’s expert team assist with all aspects of your project, including design, obtaining the appropriate permits, site preparation and installation.

Learn more about Geotube containers for breakwaters, beach restoration, wetlands creation, jetty and groyne construction, marine or land containment and building underwater structures.

Contact us to discuss your shoreline protection or land reclamation project.

Shoreline Protection Using Geotube® Containers

DATE POSTED: January 8, 2018

Discussing shoreline protection at the Latornell Conservation Symposium

Geotube® containers have been used for more than 150 miles of shoreline protection worldwide to limit erosion and damage caused by storms, ice, waves and human activity. In each of these applications, project planners evaluated and selected Geotube® containers for their strength and resilience against conventional approaches, such as retaining walls and timber structures.

At the recent Latornell Conservation Symposium Bishop Water’s Environmental Scientist, Robin Wakelin, was among three presenters who shared examples of innovative approaches to protect shorelines in a session titled “Holding the Line: Tools for Managing Landscape Erosion.”

During her presentation, Robin showcased a number case studies where Geotube® was selected to replace conventional alternatives. For example, a property in Round Lake, Ontario is using a single, 100-foot long Geotube® container as a long-term solution to withstand ice push. The property owner approached Bishop Water after learning that many neighbours had implemented conventional solutions for erosion control, including armour stone that were eventually damaged by winter ice push.

Unlike other rigid shoreline protection structures, the Geotube® container installed at this property is unaffected by weathering or erosion, even after three winters. It’s filled with about 100 cubic yards of sand, to a height of about 3.5 feet and width of seven feet. It’s bulk and rounded contour makes it nearly impossible for ice to shift it and compromise the integrity of the shoreline. The Geotube® container is also more aesthetically pleasing than alternatives since it’s covered with soil and provides a gently sloping surface that resembles the natural shoreline.

shoreline protection

The 2017 Latornell Conservation Symposium was held in Alliston, Ontario from November 21 to 23, 2017.

Learn more about the use of Geotube® containers for shoreline protection in Round Lake, Ontario.

Learn more about Geotube® Shoreline Protection Systems.

Contact us to discuss your shoreline protection project.