Is Concrete Sustainable? Here’s What You Should Know About Green Building & Sustainable Design
Concrete is a well-known construction material in the world. It’s one topic that doesn’t get much discussion time in the sustainable domain. Attention is always focused on fossil fuels, intensive animal agriculture, and plastic production. As the world progresses, everyone is trying to decarbonize as fast as possible. So, you must look at every part of society. This includes construction, development, and concrete production.
In this post, you will learn:
- Environmental issues with concrete
- What is being done?
- Low carbon alternatives
- Reconsidering Urbanization
- How Crete is achieving sustainability in concrete production
Do you want to find out if concrete is sustainable? Then read through!
Currently, concrete is one of the most consumed man-made materials globally. It is also the second most used substance on earth after water. It’s reliable, long-lasting, affordable, and adaptable to many designs. Additionally, its thermal stability creates an energy-efficient building.
First, you make the cement from a mixture of sand, clay, and limestone. Then the experts pulverize it into powder and heat at 1500°C to create pellets. Then mix the pellet with gypsum and crush the mixture into a fine powder. The end product is Portland cement, a key ingredient in concrete making. The cement is mixed with water, sand, and aggregate to make concrete. Generally, up to 1.6 tons of ingredients go into making one tone of cement.
As you know, Portland cement is the main component of modern concrete. It accounts for over 95% of the cement industry. This concrete comprises 6 % entrained air, 11% Portland cement, 16% water, 26% sand, and 41% crushed rock. Unfortunately, the material carries a huge footprint, and this makes it unsustainable.
What are the Environmental Issues with Concrete?
Unfortunately, Portland cement has the highest environmental cost. Cement production is the third-largest CO2 producer globally, after energy generation and transport. According to Chatham House, cement products are about 8 percent of CO2 emissions globally. For cement production to meet the Paris pact, the yearly CO2 emission must go down by 16 percent.
Cement production is unsafe for the environment for a couple of reasons. The production process is accountable for about 10th of the world’s water consumption. Its production entails quarrying, which leads to air pollution by generating dust, exacerbating respiratory illnesses.
That’s not enough, though!
Production requires large kilns that require a lot of energy to run. Cement making accounts for 0.33 percent of yearly energy used. This is the same as the amount of power in 13 million tons of coal.
How to Remedy the Situation
Several factors must be considered when creating sustainable alternatives. Any option that is employed must come from many resources while generating less waste and without requiring a huge amount of power. It must be long-lasting and guarantees that apartments are energy efficient.
The sector is steadily advancing towards progress. Currently, there has been advancement in the energy efficiency of the new factories, including replacing fossil fuels with the use of waste material for energy. This has experienced an average CO2 intensity of cement making reduction by 18 percent in the last three decades.
What are the Low-Carbon Options?
Too much work has gone into developing more sustainable options for Portland cement. Currently, CEM II is the prevalent low carbon option since it substitutes clinker for other components like fly ash. Another option is ground Granulated Blastfurnace Slag.
Concrete is a tricky topic. While the world continues to advance, there is a huge demand for infrastructures such as sanitation, building, and energy services, requiring construction. In a quest to meet other UN sustainable development missions, it anticipated that $60 trillion must be pumped into these developments in the global south nations. At the same time, when it should lessen emissions, the cement and concrete industries will experience huge expansion.
There is a combination of methods that can help in the sustainability issues. They include the reuse and recycling of concrete, implementing option materials like timber when appropriate, lessening the demand for concrete via design, and mass adoption of sustainable options.
How Crete is Achieving Sustainability in Concrete Production
Crete is a leading company that advocates for sustainability and cares about the environment. They respect and praise the continued innovation in response to the climate concerns that concrete production poses. The bounds and leaps that scientific study has made in a global effort to care for the environment are truly amazing.
The company does everything to protect the environment. For instance, they understand that every activity of human production negatively impacts the environment. That is why they have promised to do everything to run an eco-friendly design studio and constantly expand and determine what it means to be a green company.
The materials they use in making custom concrete are recycled and reclaimed. First, the concrete is recycled by being crushed and impacted through crushing machines with massive impactors and jaws. Then, it is screened to assist in separating particles and dirt in the mixture from the needed concrete. Water flotation, separators, and magnets can be used in some cases
Crete strives to source the materials locally and reuse them as much as possible. This helps save on the emission involved with transporting goods over long distances.
The company has virtually removed water polishing. This saves time and labor while eliminating the grinding dust. They can save over 500 gallons of water in every project. While doing this, they don’t compromise on the quality or artistry of the pieces. All the products are unique, hand-crafted artwork designed like the clients specify.
The proprietary mix uses embedded glass fiber to offer excellent tensile strength. The fibers ensure that the concrete has plasticity such that designers can make stunning and functional pieces.
They make all their products using eco- friendly methods. The company is a leader in sustainability and they care about being ecologically friendly. The experts understand that gorgeous and functional custom concrete designs don’t have to cost the planet. This is evident in their products.