Road pavements, sidewalks, structures, and buildings are all structures that make use of concrete.
It’s widely used in construction because of its durability, strength, and cost-effectiveness. However, concrete production is the third leading source of global CO2 emissions.
The overall production process has been shown to produce most greenhouse gas emissions than any other artificial material on Earth.
Fortunately, green concrete is a sustainable alternative to traditional concrete that addresses the environmental costs of traditional concrete production. Green concrete uses fewer natural resources, has lower emissions, and is made with recycled materials.
What is Green Concrete and What Is It Made Of?
Green concrete is a kind of construction material that uses alternative, environment-friendly materials and processes to reduce its overall impact on the environment. It is also sometimes referred to as sustainable concrete or eco-concrete.
If traditional concrete is made of cement, aggregate, and water, green concrete is made with recycled materials such as slag (a byproduct of steel manufacturing), fly ash (a byproduct of coal-fired power plants), silica fume (another industrial waste product), and ground granulated blast furnace slag. Recycled glass, rubber, and plastic can also be used in green concrete.
The production processes of green concrete are also more sustainable than traditional concrete, simply because it is made of recycled materials that have already been processed.
The production of traditional concrete requires significant amounts of energy, water, and raw materials. Green concrete reduces the amount of resources needed for its production, resulting in a more sustainable alternative to traditional concrete.
Similarly, green concrete also has lower emissions than traditional concrete because it doesn’t require the same amount of energy and resources to produce. Additionally, green concrete can often be produced quicker and with a much shorter curing time.
What are the Benefits of Using Green Concrete?
Although the idea of using green concrete is fairly new, it has already demonstrated a number of benefits that are worth exploring. Here are just some of the benefits that come with using green concrete:
It is Environmentally Friendly
It goes without saying that green concrete is a much more planet-friendly option than traditional concrete. As it is made with recycled materials, it uses ingredients and other materials that would otherwise be wasted, putting those into good use.
Less material produced leaves our landfills better off, as it is taking away from what would otherwise be considered more waste material.
It Reduces Carbon Footprint
Green concrete has a much lower carbon footprint than regular concrete, which ultimately reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are produced in its production. This makes it an excellent choice for those looking to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint.
It is More Durable
Due to the mix of recycled materials, green concrete is harder and more resistant to wear and tear from weathering or use. In addition, it has a better resistance against sulfates which leads to cracks in traditional cement over time. As such, buildings made with this material last longer.
Additionally, green concrete is also more resistant to fire, making it a great choice for those looking for additional safety measures.
It is Cheaper
By now, we know that the overall process of creating green concrete takes less energy, time, and materials, thus, it is cheaper than traditional concrete because it uses recycled materials. These materials are readily available and in fact, have an abundant supply.
The cost savings from using green concrete can be significant and is a great way to save money in construction projects.
Saves on Natural Resources
In the traditional process, natural resources such as limestone and clay are quarried from various locations worldwide. These places often have to deal with pollution caused by mining activities or transporting heavy materials across long distances.
The green concrete process uses recycled materials that don’t require extensive transportation methods and are readily available in landfills around us.
Green Concrete is Sustainable
A mix of recycled materials makes it more sustainable than traditional concrete, which can only be made using natural resources.
Green concretes are continually being improved as we discover new ways to produce them and reduce its environmental impact further through each phase of the production process.
How Can I Use Green Concrete?
Green concrete can be used for most construction projects – from sidewalks to roadways and everything in between. However, there are certain aspects of building design that require special consideration.
One of the most important aspects is ensuring that your structure is designed to resist future stresses caused by heavyweights.
A prime example would be designing a building with balconies or elevated areas, which will put more strain on an already existing structure, especially if it’s not adequately reinforced for this purpose.
There are also other general design considerations, such as drainage and insulation during colder periods, depending on the project requirements.
What Do I Need to Know Before Using Green Concrete?
If you’re looking at green concrete as a way to reduce costs in your construction projects, then think again! It will cost slightly more than traditional cement, but only because of added expenses associated with recycling materials into this mixture. However, if you value sustainable practices over short-term savings, this is a small price to pay for a greener future.
In addition, it’s worth keeping in mind that the strength of green concrete will depend on the recycled material you put into your mixture. Some mixtures may even include non-recycled items such as fly ash (slag), which makes them very eco-friendly.
As such, always keep these factors in mind when designing or constructing with this material – especially if durability and weathering resistance is essential to you.
Green concrete is not a new concept but one that has been around for decades now. It’s slowly gaining popularity because its use has many benefits, including reduced overall costs, better durability, and an environmentally friendly production process compared to traditional cement mixes. In addition, less energy is required during this process hence reducing carbon emissions into our atmosphere even further.