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Environmental Qualities of Concrete

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Concrete's many green characteristics support sustainability.


From manufacturing, through use and recycling, concrete supports sustainability. Here are some important reasons why concrete is green:

Efficient use of resources. The cement that binds concrete is made primarily of limestone, the most abundant mineral on earth. Concrete also supports recycling, it can be made with fly ash, slag cement, and silica fume, all waste byproducts from power plants, steel mills, and other manufacturing facilities. Concrete is also green in that it is manufactured locally, and unlike asphalt, it produces no toxic runoff.

Long life and reuse: Structures build with concrete have a lifespan double or triple those of other common building materials. Concrete does not rust, rot, or burn. But when the end finally comes, concrete can be crushed and recycled as a high-quality aggregate for hundreds of applications.

Thermal mass: Buildings made with concrete walls, foundations, and floors are highly energy efficient because they take advantage of concrete’s inherent ability to absorb and retain heat - it's thermal mass. Building owners can significantly cut their heating and cooling bills and install smaller-capacity HVAC equipment.

Reflectivity. Light colored concrete pavements and roofs absorb less heat and reflect more of the sun's light than dark-colored materials, such as asphalt. This reduces reducing air conditioning demands and minimizes the urban heat island effect.

Pervious concrete minimizes stormwater runoff. Pervious concrete pavement has a 15-25% void structure, allowing 3-8 gallons of water per minute to pass through each square foot. When it rains, pervious drains, putting water back in the ground where it belongs.

Read more about Concrete Features Favored by Mother Nature