Environmental issues and green products are a hot topic in this day and age. Protecting our planet is not only the “hip” thing to do but also the right thing to do. It is the duty of every vendor, manufacturer and entrepreneur to understand the ecological impact of his business.
In trying to determine whether concrete is really a green product, one of the first pieces of the puzzle for me is that the material itself is organic in the sense that it comes from natural products. Concrete has been around for centuries. It was used in ancient times and was the basic ingredient for Roman aqueducts, and was used in the Coliseum and Pantheon. The basic mixture of sand, stone and cement is still the basis of concrete today.
Making concrete is not really something that would be considered planet-friendly because it began with the blasting of limestone in mines to make cement, a material that binds concrete. Cement powder is mixed with water which allows it to be bound with sand or gravel. The combination of mining, manufacturing and transporting materials to a concrete plant and then transporting it to employment does not match what would be considered a good ecological pattern. On a positive note, concrete uses local resources that minimize fuel requirements for handling and transportation, but on the other hand there are concerns to be addressed with the alkalinity of washing water used for cement and concrete production.
After being used in construction, concrete tends to last and even strengthen in time and offer significant energy savings throughout the lifetime of the building or pavement. The thermal mass of concrete, together with insulating material, provides a high insulation factor and moderates changes in temperature by storing and releasing the energy needed for heating and cooling, …» Read more