Sustainable Concrete: What You Need to Know

sustainable concrete

Behind only water, concrete is the second most-consumed substance on Earth and the most widely used building material. Since it’s strong, plentiful, and versatile, it makes it an easy choice for various building applications around the world. But in the interest of increasing sustainability, several concrete alternatives have been developed. Let’s explore if sustainable concrete can stand up as a suitable alternative.

Sustainability Concerns

Traditional concrete is a mixture of cement, sand, gravel, water, and other aggregates. It can be used to build many types of structures and designs. However, there is concern over the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it creates.

Over 2 billion tons of concrete are produced each year. Its production has led to a few issues. Cement manufacturing causes about 7% of carbon dioxide emissions globally. With carbon dioxide being a particularly worrisome greenhouse gas, there is a clear desire to reduce this number. 

In addition, there are problems when it comes to limestone supplies. Limestone is used in cement and, because of this, is being depleted worldwide. This depiction can create supply problems in the short term and is unsustainable in the longer term. 

Green Concrete

Green concrete is one type of eco-friendly concrete. It is made with waste or residual materials from other industries, requiring less energy for production. Green concrete produces less carbon dioxide, is cheaper and more durable than traditional concrete.

The cement in concrete can be replaced with other substances when creating green concrete. This can include fly ash, silica fumes, and wood ash, among other options. Using these alternatives reduces the amount of cement needed, making it a more sustainable option.

Aggregate Replacement

As an alternative to green concrete, the aggregates in concrete can be replaced with recyclable and reusable resources. For example, paper/fiber, waste plastic, post-consumer glass, and concrete debris can all be used as an aggregate replacement.

This can lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Using concrete debris and post-consumer glass as an aggregate replacement can reduce landfill waste and reduce how much raw material is used.

Up to 20% of the traditional aggregate material in concrete can be replaced with plastic waste. Plastic waste is a cause for concern worldwide, so finding something to do with it solves other problems as well. This is a sustainable option but is only strong enough within a specific limit.

Composite Cement

The Buatex wall system uses composite materials and foam beads to create an alternative to concrete. Alternatives like these provide a more environmentally free option.

Composite cement is strong yet requires less energy. In addition, it can be fireproof, storm-resistant, and sound-absorbing. This gives it advantages as a substitute while also giving it advantages all on its own. 

Choosing Sustainable Concrete

Sustainable concrete alternatives can be a good choice depending on the application and specific type of concrete alternative chosen. It can help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released while also remaining a viable building material.

Schedule a free estimate with BuildPro STL Construction to see how you can incorporate sustainable concrete into your upcoming project.