CD Designs Blog
Concrete has surprised many by being heralded as a green building material, thanks to new production techniques, composite materials, and the application of specialised coatings and designs, designed to reduce pollution, ‘self-clean’, and perform other cooling or filtering functions.
Certainly concrete has come a long way from being used in industrial council buildings or swirly pattern imprinted concrete driveways across the majority of British homes.
Traditionally concrete has been made from sand, cement, gravel and water mixes. The use of cement – a potentially hazardous and environmentally unfriendly product has courted controversy for many years, thanks to its fuel intensive production requirements, increasing levels of demand, and tax on quarries from stone and sand mining.
However, technology is moving at a pace to provide eco alternatives, and new concrete formulations are being developed all the time that provide the usual benefits of cost, flexibility and durability – without damaging the environment.
Cement substitutes are being used – minerals and recyclable materials which reduce carbon emissions and cut landfill disposals at the same time.
Fly ash is an example of these materials – once dumped into landfill in huge amounts, now recycled into a strong and durable cement compound suitable for intensive industrial use, and domestic use. AshCrete is another substitute made from 97% recycled materials, including fly ash and borate – and it’s known to be twice as strong as traditional concrete mixes.
The newest compound mix is carbon concrete, made with a thermoplastic from oil refinery by products. It cannot be used for tall buildings, but can be used for paving – whether that’s for town roads, or pattern imprinted concrete driveways outside homes.
Additionally, scientists are working on ways to recycle and reduce cement materials, and make use of recycled additions. Developments such as foamCrete – a lightweight concrete requiring little production energy, and GrassCrete – referring to a cellular laying pattern that allows grass to grow between blocks, improving drainage and reducing total concrete use.
Green builders are already supplying viable alternatives to traditional concrete, so it’s worth speaking with your local concrete expert to find out more, give us a call for example.
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25th June 2011