Concrete: The Sustainable Construction Material
Concrete is the most commonly used construction material on earth. When considered over its entire life cycle - extraction, processing, construction, operation, demolition and recycling - concrete makes a significant contribution to the triple bottom line - environmental, social and economic - of sustainable development.
Concrete is a versatile construction material: it is plastic and malleable when newly mixed, yet strong and durable when hardened. These qualities explain why concrete can be used to build skyscrapers, bridges, sidewalks, highways, houses and dams.
Concrete also enables the reduction of CO2 emissions and other negative environmental impacts in many sectors.
- Homes built with insulating concrete (ICF) - reduce energy usage by 40% or more.
- Concrete buildings - last longer, reduce maintenance and energy use and provide better indoor air quality.
- Structures made with smog-eating concrete (TX Active) stay clean and can reduce nitric oxides in the surrounding area by as much as 60%.
- Concrete highways - require less maintenance, not subject to rutting or spring thaw load restrictions, reduce fuel consumed by heavily loaded trucks.
- Agricultural waste containment - use of concrete reduces odour and prevents groundwater contamination.
- Cement-based solidification/stabilization - in situ treatment of waste for brownfield redevelopment and remediation of contaminated sites.