Around since ancient times, concrete is one of the most ubiquitous building materials in the world. Today it is utilised for a whole host of structures, ranging from residential buildings and commercial properties to roads and bridges. However, although we might know what it is used for, few of us know how environmentally friendly it is compared to other available building materials. Recently a carbon neutral concrete that actually absorbs CO2 was developed, but even the regular variety is viewed as a good choice for architects who are focused on being as environmentally friendly as possible. So, what makes concrete so environmentally friendly?
Designed to last and if you build something with concrete it will last a long time. A very durable material that is not as susceptible to natural disasters in the same way that wood is, concrete doesn’t rust either like metal. In fact, a concrete structure is likely to outlive a wooden or metal structure by up to three times.
Used to create buildings that are airtight and well insulated, according to HouseBeautiful.com, commercial concrete can be used to create buildings with fantastic thermal functioning. During the winter months the concrete warms throughout the day and then heats the building as the temperature cools throughout the night. During the summer it is able to keep the heat out, reducing the need for artificial cooling.
Unlike many other construction materials, the raw materials that go into concrete are sourced in the UK, meaning they are not imported, reducing the amount of transport emissions produced. Additionally, there is normally a ready-mix concrete plant or company, such as http://www.monstermixconcrete.co.uk/commercial-concrete.php within 10 miles of every UK construction site, resulting in even lower transportation needs and associated CO2 emissions.
Concrete is made up of a number of recycled materials and by-products such as limestone, sand, clay and fly ash. Meanwhile, limestone is the most common mineral on earth and is also a key raw material in the production of concrete.
Following the demolition of a building, concrete is increasingly being recycled and reused in new materials. For example, concrete that has been salvaged from a demolition project can be crushed into a form of gravel to be used in road construction.