Sustainability Benefits of Concrete!

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A black and white logo of the associated builders and contractors association.

Sustainability Benefits of Concrete

It is easy to overlook the use of concrete in society. Concrete plays a vital part in our daily lives and in a functioning society. Its benefits to society are immense, being used to build our schools, hospitals, apartment blocks, bridges, tunnels, dams, sewerage systems, pavements, runways, roads and more.

Few people realize that concrete is, in fact, the most used man-made material in the world, with nearly three tons used annually for each man, woman, and child. Twice as much concrete is used around the world than the total of all other building materials, including wood, steel, plastic, and aluminum. None of these other materials can replace concrete in terms of effectiveness, price, and performance for most purposes.

Even fewer people are aware of the many environmental benefits that using concrete brings.

It is vitally important to develop products and systems that can be used to construct more durable, energy-efficient eco-buildings, and concrete can be used to do just this. Concrete, with its strength, durability and excellent thermal mass, should be a key component in eco-buildings of today and the future. In May 2008, The Guardian in the United Kingdom featured the first zero-carbon house developed by a volume housebuilder, in which concrete plays a critical role in maintaining internal temperatures.

The CSI has established a new working group to explore the qualities of concrete that will contribute to a more sustainable society.

Locally Produced and Used: The relative expense of land transport usually limits cement and concrete sales to within 300km of a plant site. Very little cement and concrete are traded and transported internationally. This saves significantly on transport emissions of CO2 that would otherwise occur

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Characteristics of Concrete

  • Strength and Durability
  • Versatility
  • Low maintenance
  • Affordability
  • Fire-resistance
  • Relatively low emissions of CO2
  • Energy efficiency in production
  • Excellent thermal mass
  • Locally produced and used
  • Albedo effect
  • Expand all