21 April 2024

Is concrete sustainable?

By ruiiid5

Concrete is the world’s most popular construction material. It is a composite, made from a mixture of cement, aggregate (gravel, sand or crushed stone) and water. The aggregate usually makes up 60-75% of the concrete’s volume, whilst cement usually accounts for around 10%.
Concrete itself is a long-lasting and durable material, making it efficient and sustainable for the construction of buildings, roads, and houses. However, there are a number of issues when it comes to the sustainability and eco-friendliness of cement.

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Cement Production

The production of cement is highly problematic from an environmental perspective as cement production is responsible for an enormous amount of CO2. In addition, almost all concrete nowadays uses Portland cement, a variant that requires a vast amount of energy to produce.

Most of the emissions are a result of the fact that fossil fuels (usually coal) have to be burnt to generate the heat required for the kiln which has to run at a consistent temperature of 1500 degrees Celsius.

Cement production also generates carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide, both of which can cause or worsen respiratory issues.

Concrete Experts

If you are looking for a reliable source of high-quality concrete, there are a number of companies specialising in concrete Stroud and the Gloucestershire area. Many of these firms have useful online resources including cost calculators – such as the example seen here: https://www.monstermixconcrete.co.uk/concrete-stroud/.

Other Elements of Concrete

Sand and gravel are both used as aggregate in concrete. Mining for these can lead to significant land degradation and water pollution.

The concrete industry also uses vast amounts of water. This places additional pressure on regions where water is already a scarce and vital resource.

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Strategies for Sustainable Concrete Production

When it comes to concrete production, and particularly the way its components are made, the status quo cannot continue as it is destroying the environment. A recent development is what is known as ‘sustainable concrete’. This is made using more eco-friendly components and production methods that capture CO2 rather than allowing it to be released into the atmosphere.