Green building materials in the construction industry are becoming increasingly popular. The use of sustainable materials and recycled materials ensures resources are not depleted, so there will be sufficient building materials for future generations. One material that is quickly emerging and becoming a top choice for construction projects is sustainable concrete.
The Benefits of Using Concrete as a Sustainable Material
#1: Fully Recyclable
Used concrete is easy to recycle into aggregate materials that can be used for other purposes. For instance, when the aggregate is ground into a powder-like consistency, it can be used with cement to produce new concrete.
Other uses for concrete aggregate include using it as a base material for road construction, parking lots, and walls and protecting shorelines from erosion. Concrete can also be broken down into different sizes and shapes.
For example, concrete can be broken down into pebble-size pieces to be used in place of mulch or to give texture to concrete walkways, pool decks, patios, etc. Thus, concrete essentially can be recycled numerous times without losing its other excellent properties.
#2: Versatile/Adaptive Reuse
Concrete can be adapted to a wide range of surfaces, shapes, sizes, and forms when in a wet-mixed state that hardens into the desired output. The adaptability of concrete also allows it to be reused in various formats. For example, concrete office buildings can be converted into concrete apartment buildings to get further use out of existing buildings.
Concrete has the ability to insulate to help reduce the heating and cooling demands of buildings. If you have ever been in a basement in the summer, you know the basement is much cooler. This is thanks to the concrete foundation of the home.
Furthermore, concrete driveways, roads, and parking lots are energy-efficient. The energy required to maintain, repair, and construct concrete pavement is a fraction of that for asphalt pavement. Additionally, thanks to the light gray color of concrete, it reflects heat energy, keeping surfaces cooler.
#4: Lowest Carbon Foot
Concrete has the lowest carbon footprint compared to other building materials based on their life cycles. Since concrete is fully recyclable and reusable without change to the concrete structure, and thanks to modern concrete production methods, this benefit is one that potentially never ends.
Concrete’s emission environmental impact is zero. Once hardened and cured, concrete is inert, which means it does not give off gases, carbon dioxide, or VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
#6: Strong and Durable
Concrete is a rather strong material once it is fully cured. It is difficult to break concrete, making it very durable. Its lifespan lasts decades—often much longer than wood and other building materials.
#7: Low Maintenance
An added benefit concrete materials have is being low maintenance, thanks to their durability and strength. For instance, concrete driveways and parking lots are easy to maintain by sealing the concrete periodically and fixing any minor cracks.
#8: Produced Locally
Recycled eco-friendly concrete is often produced nearby by local businesses. Not only can you help support the local economy, but you can also help do your part in reducing your environmental impact. Additionally, since green concrete is made locally, it reduces shipping costs and any related emissions associated with shipping.
The strength and durability of concrete make it a relatively resilient building material. It will not rust, decay, rot, or burn. In addition, concrete is fire resistant, wind-resistant, and water-resistant. As a result, following earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural weather events, concrete structures tend to remain standing while other structures built with different materials do not.
Concrete structures, buildings, driveways, roads, and parking lots are more cost-effective than other building materials. Thanks to the durability, strength, long life span, low maintenance, and recyclability of concrete, it is an affordable and eco-friendly building material.
#11: Increases Rainwater Collection
Where pervious concrete is used for roadways and other surfaces exposed to rain, it makes it easier for the rainwater to pass directly through the porous concrete and directly into the ground. This reduces the need for excessive rainwater collection methods like flow-off channels, storm drains, etc.
#12: Promotes Recycling Other Building Materials
Steel is a common building material used with concrete construction for buildings, roads, and other structures. By recycling the concrete, it exposes the steel and makes it also possible to recycle and reuse the steel. Steel can be heated and remelted into liquid molten steel. The liquid molten steel can be poured into cast molds and made into new steel products.
Why Is Concrete Considered Sustainable?
Concrete is made using various raw materials that occur naturally in the environment or are by-products of other production methods that would otherwise end up in landfills.
The primary material used for the cement in concrete is limestone. Limestone is found just about anywhere in the world. It is one of the most abundant materials that can be recycled and reused.
The by-product materials used to make concrete include silica fume, blast furnace slag, and fly ash. These by-products come from manufacturing plants, power plants, and steel mills. Once used to make concrete, these materials can also continue to be reused and recycled to make new concrete or new concrete materials.
Sustainable concrete is an excellent material to use for a wide range of residential and commercial construction projects. To find out more about sustainable concrete for home renovation and improvement projects, new home construction, or commercial projects, please feel free to contact Cross Construction Services at 713-254-1703 today!