At a glance, concrete isn’t great for the environment.
Creating product in older concrete plants uses a lot of energy. And staple ingredients like Portland cement produce substantial CO2 emissions through the manufacturing process.
In the long run, however, concrete can be better for the environment than alternatives.
For one, it’s tough.
Concrete withstands fire, acidic chemicals and rough winds. Structures composed of concrete and steel are stronger than wooden or metal structures. This reduces maintenance and repair needs for decades.
Still, there’s no arguing there’s room for improvement. Reducing concrete’s impact on the environment will make it an easier sell to investors and communities looking to be greener.
The road to reducing greenhouse gases from concrete creation
1. Use alternative power sources.
- Solar and wind power are renewable.
- These power sources will cost less than nonrenewable resources over time.
- Many states do not have access to wind power.
- Solar panels are an expensive up-front cost.
2. Retrofit older concrete plants with more efficient parts.
- Easy and quick if you choose the right partner for your plant construction.
- Opens your plant up to more production capabilities.
- Better if you have limited room for expansion
- A new plant could lead to better ROI than retrofitting.
- Requires a plant with equipment that can be upgraded.
3. Use less Portland cement or use blends.
- Great for marketing your product as greener.
- Can be cheaper.
- Portland cement has more than 200 years of use. We trust it the most.
- New ingredients require creating new mix designs.
Concrete as a building material isn’t going away. In fact, usage is projected to grow.
But if we want to improve our ability to persuade environmentally conscious buyers, the industry will have to begin making changes soon.