Concrete Construction

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Concrete Construction Reduces Your Carbon Footprint

Just when you thought that you knew all there is to know about the use of Concrete in construction.

I was doing some research for an upcoming blog on ICF Pool Construction (bet you can’t wait!) when I ran across this little ditty about Concrete construction and CO2 – your carbon footprint.

Here at Advantage Homes, we use concrete construction in our custom homes (and pools) not only because of its strength and durability but also because of its green value.  We have known for some time now that greenhouse gasses are causing global warming by trapping the Sun’s radiant energy in our atmosphere increasing the average temperature.  Global warming causes a rise in sea levels, increasing the intensity of extreme weather and changing the amount and patterns of precipitation we receive, something that I’m sure we have all noticed over the past couple of winters!  Some of these greenhouse gases are released by natural events that we have no control over but others are a result of human activity; which is something we can work on!  Break out the concrete!

Although production of concrete does require energy that in turn results in the generation of carbon dioxide (CO2); the amount produced during manufacturing and the net impact of using concrete as a building material is relatively small.  The following features of concrete construction aid in minimizing it and in turn our carbon footprint;

  • Concrete is eco-efficient and the ingredients require little processing.
  • Transportation energy is minimized as most of the materials for the use of concrete in construction are attained and manufactured locally.
  • Insulated concrete forms (ICF) combine insulation with high thermal mass and low air infiltration to make custom homes (and pools) more energy efficient.
  • Concrete construction has a very long service life which reduces the amount of repair, maintenance and the associated environmental impact.
  • The use of insulated concrete forms (ICF) aids in minimizing the “urban heat island effect” reducing the energy required to heat and cool our custom homes (and pools).
  • Concrete production causes less greenhouse gas emissions than wood production does (not to mention deforestation).
  •  Concrete incorporates recycled industrial by-products such as fly ash; slag and silica fume which helps reduce embodied energy, carbon footprint and quantity of landfilled materials.
  • Concrete construction actually absorbs CO2 over the course of its lifetime through a process called carbonatation, again aiding in the reduction of the carbon footprint.
  • Approximately 21% of CO2 emissions are from heating and cooling your conventionally constructed home (wood frame) alone!
  • Concrete construction boasts one of the lowest carbon footprints of any building material.

So, what this all crumbles down to is that using concrete construction in your custom home will not only reduce initial CO2 emissions in the manufacturing process but it will also significantly reduce your personal carbon footprint by reducing the amount of energy and fossil fuels used for heating and cooling your custom home.  Bonus benefit: reduced heating and cooling bills for you and a small but appreciated contribution to a healthier planet!  Now that’s a “concrete” finish!

(Source NRMCA)

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