Three primary ingredients go into all concrete – water, rock, and cement. Most concrete applications now include reinforcement as well, steel bar or wire to enhance the strength and durability of concrete to allow higher, longer and more stable applications. Cement itself is diversifying to turn industrial by-products into construction benefits. Supplementary cementitious materials add beneficial properties to concrete as well as reducing the carbon footprint associated with Portland cement. Admixtures and other materials bring a range of special properties to the basic concrete mixture. Links below describe the individual materials in more detail and discuss the sustainable attributes and evolving industry practices to manage impacts.
While concrete is a relatively simple product, putting it to its best use and get the most out of its many capabilities is anything but simple. From the getting the design right for the climate and building program, to getting the mixture right for the application, to getting the construction sequencing right for the site and the structure, to getting the final product to deliver everything the owner intended, requires a lot of people and decisions to work together over the extended time period from concept to occupancy. The segments linked below explain the roles and practices that are important to get the most benefit from sustainable concrete construction.
We use concrete in so many ways in different types of construction and infrastructure. Most of these applications share concrete’s fundamental sustainable attributes, the segments below explain the unique role and sustainable attributes each has in the built environment.
The role of concrete in structures varies widely from primary structural components to more specific elements of a project. Concrete’s hallmark sustainable attribute is durability and all of its implications. The segments in the section describe the many ways concrete contributes to sustainable structures and the ways to extend their service life through maintenance and repair, and preservation and reuse.
Building codes, standards and rating systems or guidelines provide the tools for ensuring safety and performance from our buildings. There are important distinctions between them as tools and how far they go in addressing the range of sustainability concerns. The first link discusses these different types of tools and their role in sustainable development. The second looks at several specific codes and standards that address sustainable construction.
Like every industry concrete has jargon and terminology that is often unfamiliar to those who aren’t in the industry – here’s what we mean by the term…