5 sustainable alternatives to carbon intensive concrete
We’re surrounded by concrete; it’s in our buildings, our roads, our tunnels, and runways. In fact, we produce around 10 billion tonnes of concrete every year, that’s more than a tonne each for every person on earth.
Strong, durable, and affordable, the benefits of concrete are undeniable. But there’s one issue that gives the material a bad name – its carbon intensive production process.
Most of the components of concrete – water, sand, and gravel – are natural, but its one key ingredient – cement – has major environmental implications. Industrial extraction and high temperatures in the production process lead to one tonne of CO2 emitted for every tonne of cement produced. This accounts for 5% of annual global anthropogenic CO2 produced.
There is a host of ways to avoid using concrete in construction; here are five alternative methods to reduce carbon levels in your next project.
Greencrete’s patterned, perforated blocks allow grass or other plants to grow within them. Creating a striking aesthetic, the grass reduces the amount of concrete used and absorbs rainwater.
Hempcrete and Timbercrete
Another approach to ‘greening’ concrete is to substitute cement for more natural materials. Hempcrete uses the inner fibres of the ever-versatile hemp plant, a fast-growing renewable material. Whereas Timbercrete uses a mixture of industrial waste sawdust and concrete. Both materials are far lighter than traditional concrete, leading to reduced transportation costs.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Why not grow your own concrete-like material? Mycelium is a fully natural material made from the root structure of fungi. It can be encouraged to grow in certain shaped molds and once dried it is extremely light.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Ferrock and Ashcrete
As with Hempcrete and Timbercrete, Ferrock and Ashcrete use alternative components – this time industrial waste. Ferrock contains steel dust, making it stronger than traditional concrete and able to absorb and trap CO2 in its drying process. Ashcrete uses fly ash, a by-product of burning coal, enabling recycled material to form 97% of traditional components.
Aircrete, also known as autoclaved aerated concrete, consists of 80% recycled content. Requiring no additional fireproofing, Aircrete comes off 8% cheaper than a timber frame. The lightweight material can be used for loadbearing purposes, and paint or wallpaper can be applied straight onto the smooth surface.
With a growing concern for sustainability in the industry, these innovative solutions are ideal for cutting down on carbon intensive concrete.Next Article :
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