Is concrete construction sustainable?

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Concrete construction is all around us – it is omnipresent in almost every building we walk past on a daily basis. It’s so substantial in its availability and production that concrete has to be considered as an important factor when looking at global environmental problems. With concrete construction being such a common commodity around us, it’s important to ask ourselves – is this sort of construction sustainable?

Is it just as viable for the environment as it is a viable option for us?

All in all, the answer to that question is that concrete is definitely a friend for both us and the environment. In fact, concrete is a friend to the environment throughout all stages of its lifespan. Right from the very beginning when it is raw material to then be used in construction that can easily be demolished, it is a natural and safe choice. If you aren’t convinced, then here’s a few things for you to consider:

As you can see from the many concrete constructions that you would come across on a daily basis, concrete is very long lasting. It doesn’t rust, it doesn’t rot and it has a lifespan that is almost three times the lifespan of a building made out of other common construction materials. It saves financial resources and isn’t affected by any adverse environmental conditions thrown its way- and because it’s so long lasting it cuts down on demolition costs as well.

Plentiful Resources
The major raw component of the cement that is found in concrete is Limestone. Limestone is one of the incredible abundances on earth, and is in no risk of running out any time soon. Whilst there is plenty of limestone to make cement, concrete can also be made by other materials such as byproducts from power plants and manufacturing facilities.

Property of Reflection
Concrete constructions- especially those that are lighter in colour- actually absorb very little heat. This is vital in the peak of summer, as this means it reflects the rest of the heat it doesn’t absorb, thus keeping the insides of our homes and buildings significantly cooler. This in turn cuts down on air conditioning and ventilation costs that would adversely affect the environment.

Waste Minimisation
Concrete during production can be made upon demand instead of made in bulk and having possible excess at the end of the project. Furthermore concrete at the end of its lifespan during demolition can still be used and recycled to use for new concrete.

Water Retention Properties
Concrete has been invented to counteract the environmental harms that paved surfaces create during rainy seasons. Pervious concrete absorbs water and allows it to seep into the earth naturally whereas paved surfaces do not facilitate this absorption process. Without absorption, instances of pollution and flash flooding are more likely to occur.

Ultimately, concrete construction has been a commonality of the past and it is here to stay for the future as well. Sustainable concrete construction and its benefits for the environment go further than what’s just mentioned above, it is very much leading us to a greener future.

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