Sustainable concrete is a relatively new term that has just emerged from the concrete industry that promises to revolutionize how concrete is made. So what exactly does this mean? It means that you won’t be building anything with toxic or noxious chemicals anymore. Concrete is by far the second most widely used material in the world, after petroleum-based plastic. “Whole research and the concrete industry, in all honesty, have this long-standing goal that concrete can never be considered disposable,” says Jake Rosen.
The process of sustainability begins by looking at the total life cycle of the material. In other words, we consider where the materials we’re using now came from and where they’re going. This information will inform the sustainability strategy that is being applied to the project at hand. “What if we replace all the nonrenewable sources of building materials like coal and oil with sustainable ones?” asks Rosen.
For instance, in many cases, a building material such as concrete requires the use of at least two to three additional greenhouse gases to make up the same carbon footprint that is experienced with traditional construction. Traditional methods include the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil to heat the cement. “Up until now there hasn’t been any type of advanced engineered concrete,” says Jake Rosen. “But we believe that there are some very exciting things coming out of the cement industry that can change the face of construction forever.”
One exciting breakthrough in this field is known as zero-gravity technology. “A team from NASA actually tried it out at our office,” recalls Jake Rosen. “Their aim was to determine whether or not using cement with zero gravity would reduce the amount of energy needed to heat it up. They actually reduced the temperature of the cement by forty-eight degrees, which is huge.” In order to test this theory, the NASA scientists had to simulate the temperature of pure concrete. After seven months of testing, they concluded that zero gravity did in fact reduce the amount of energy needed to melt the cement. This new type of concrete could drastically reduce the amount of CO2 emissions in building construction.
Another breakthrough in the field of sustainable concrete construction is known as ecofertile aggregate. The term “encompassing” describes the materials that are used. By using this type of raw material, the amount of emissions caused by the energy needed to manufacture the concrete are greatly reduced. It has already been found that it is possible to produce large amounts of high quality aggregates on a sustainable basis. “Ecofertile aggregate” will allow building developers to build with materials that do not release any harmful CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
The combination of these technologies will allow builders to build much more environmentally friendly buildings that will help save the earth. These buildings will be safe for the people living in them and they will also be energy savings for future generations. The techniques that are combined to allow for a faster building process that can save a lot of money. With this technology we are looking forward to a green and sustainable future.