Concrete as a sustainable building material
Often we’ve talked about just how environmentally friendly concrete is; but you might have asked why is it environmentally friendly? What makes it such a unique, sustainable building material? Concrete is unique in that it remains an environmentally sustainable building material throughout its entire lifespan. Here are some of the reasons why:
Most concrete is made from limestone, and limestone is one of the most abundant minerals we have on earth. It’s easily found, requiring less complicated measures to harvest it; but it can also be made from waste products, the waste by product of power plants, or other manufacturing facilities. Also, when the concrete has fulfilled its purpose, it
It’s easily re-purposed as aggregate for roads, ground up for a subsequent use as concrete (truly recyclable over and over), etc.
Concrete is durable and efficient
Concrete is a very durable building material. Concrete wont rot, it won’t warp, it won’t burn. While there are other durable building materials, few can withstand the elements like concrete. Concrete is used for numerous projects on the spectrum from the minimal backyard paving stone to the entire Hoover dam. It’s also very energy efficient, because it can absorb and retain heat. That’s one reason it works so well as the foundation for homes. Concrete is equally as useful to keeping things cool, and in areas where high-heat can pose problems, even health-risks, light colored concrete is used for simple roads, paths, etc., instead of asphalt, because it stays cooler, reflects more solar radiation.
And it’s just such a useful, practical building material. It’s equally at home as a foundation as it is for a retaining wall, as the slab for a patio, or even as kitchen counter top. It can be colored or stamped, made completely custom—custom forms, custom color, custom pattern. And in all of those roles, it will stay durable, it will age well, and, in some applications, even age to a beautiful antiqued patina. And you can feel good that even if the material outlives its use, it will, at some point, be easily recycled.