Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world, but like other cement-based products it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce those emissions without impacting the quality or strength of concrete.
Concrete solutions are becoming more common as developers, contractors, designers, engineers and builders look for innovative ways to use concrete to reduce the carbon footprint of their structures. These innovative solutions range from self-healing concrete to concrete re-use and recycled aggregates.
Self-healing bio-concrete is a new type of concrete that contains materials inspired by biology and can autonomously close cracks similar to the way trees or human skin heals. It does this by emitting a chemical signal that causes the concrete to expand or contract, thus closing any cracks that form. This concrete also requires less maintenance than traditional concrete and can be installed in a variety of applications, including bridges and roads.
Other concrete solutions Coffs Harbour Concreting Solutions include recycled aggregates, which can be used in place of traditional fill and reduce the overall amount of waste generated on a project. The recycling process also decreases the need for transportation and reduces the impact of concrete on climate change by reducing fossil fuel consumption.
Reusing existing concrete can eliminate the need to dig up and transport the material, and it can significantly reduce construction and demolition costs. It can also be poured and cured in place, which is quicker than removal and replacement. Concrete can be repurposed in many ways, including making into precast panels for walls, floors and stairs. It can also be carved, inlaid with decorative materials, or even dyed to match other surfaces.
The durability of concrete structures means that they are rarely out of service for maintenance, and so downtime is kept to a minimum. This minimises the disruption to businesses, homeowners and communities. Concrete’s fire resistance also means that it can be used for buildings which require a high level of security.
Using concrete in construction can help reduce the energy used for heating and cooling by limiting the size of mechanical and electrical systems required. Its natural acoustic performance also helps to keep noise levels low, which is important in urban areas.
When compared to other building materials, concrete is very cost effective for the Developer, with its lower first and long term economic costs, higher level of energy efficiency and future reuse opportunities should occupants change. Concrete can also be designed to be aesthetically pleasing, with a dramatic array of colours and finishes that are impossible to achieve with other materials.
In the aftermath of 196 countries signing The Paris Agreement to limit greenhouse gas production, the level of public attention focused on the need for sustainable alternatives has spiked. Fortunately, companies and research organisations around the world have been working for years on developing low-emission paths to concrete production. These technologies are now ready for commercial application. One example is the Carbon Star Standard, which provides governments and concrete producers with a simple, transparent and rigorously verified method for measuring, reporting and certifying the specific CO2 intensity of a concrete mix.