For anyone concrete is just a boring gray building material, a mixture of aggregate (different sizes of rocks), sand, cement and water. But, not everyone knows that the concrete industry is the biggest consumer of natural resources in the world. Moreover, Portland cement, which is the main ingredient, requires an enormous consumption of energy to be produced. In addition to that, Portland cement is responsible for 5% of all CO2 (carbon dioxide) emanated into the atmosphere by human activities.
Nowadays, architects, engineers and construction contractors take increasingly more in consideration the environmental impact of their projects.
Therefore, building “green” with concrete is the right choice. A sustainable construction start using only, recycled materials in the concrete composition. “Green” Concrete has started to be part of the language used today, in the construction industry.
In fact, almost any material that is used in the concrete composition can be recycled, or potentially supplemented with other kind of recycled materials.
This new concept, the “green concrete” will not deplete anymore the global natural resources. You can build now an environmentally friendly building, not different from a traditional construction in terms of strength, resistance and aesthetic.
The amount of Portland cement in the “green” concrete composition, is dramatic reduced by the addition of other materials with cementing properties such as different kinds of industrial waste materials. Instead of Portland cement, it can be used supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) such as:
– Silica Fume;
– Fly Ash – from power plants;
– Blast Furnace Slag:
– Wood Ash; Rice-Husk Ash;
– Mineral Admixtures;
Substituting Portland cement in the concrete composition up to 50%, with these supplementary cementitious materials can result in a huge energy saving. Not to mention the CO2 (carbon dioxide) reduction in the planet atmosphere.
Also, using these waste industrial materials will reduce the impact of these waste products on soil and waters.
“Green” concrete means also, finding other concrete recycled materials that can successfully replace the aggregates from concrete composition. In fact, they can be as strong as the concrete aggregates, or even stronger.
In conclusion, using “green” concrete (waste cementitious materials and recycled materials instead aggregates) will greatly reduce our carbon footprint and the concrete will become a sustainable construction material.
“Green” concrete retains and also, enhances the benefits and qualities of classic concrete such as: longevity, durability, chemical inertness, etc.
Concrete, in essence, is the building material used anywhere in the world and therefore concrete “green” will make a big difference in the protection of our planet.