Concrete is not only the world’s most used building material, it is the world’s most used material in general after water – for a reason. It is abundant, affordable, locally available and can be used in innumerable ways. Concrete’s remarkable properties make it a vital element in both limiting the scope, and combating the effects of climate change – enabling the development of sustainable and resilient building and communities around the world. Just a few of the incredible benefits of concrete are described below.
The availability of concrete as an abundant, local and cost-effective building material means the sustainability of concrete – its durability, flexibility, resilience, etc. – can be enjoyed in both developed and emerging economies.
Concrete reabsorbs a significant amount of CO2 over its lifetime in a process known as carbon uptake or recarbonation.
The industry utilises recycled/secondary aggregates and cementitious industrial by-products in concrete and alternative fuels/raw materials in cement kilns. Concrete buildings are long-lasting and can be re-used or adapted and re-purposed.
Design for Disassembly
Certain buildings can be designed and built for easy disassembly as to enable the reuse of its component parts in other construction projects, reducing use of raw materials and lowering waste.
Concrete stays standing more often than alternative building materials in the face of disaster, reducing the need for reconstruction and enabling communities to recover more quickly.
Concrete buildings last longer and require less maintenance. They better survive disasters and can be reused many times over in their lifetime, meaning less demolition and reconstruction.
Concrete’s resistance to fire improves the safety of occupants, fire fighters and neighbours during fire events, and minimises damage, so buildings can return to use quickly, boosting community resilience.
Passive Cooling using Thermal Mass
Due to its ability to absorb and store heat, concrete can be used to passively heat or cool buildings, reducing the energy consumed by heating or air conditioning as well as reducing the risk of overheating.
Society expects the built environment – buildings, bridges and other infrastructure – to be enduring and safe – safety is the first priority. Concrete is well known for its attributes of strength, durability, resilience and safety – concrete for example does not burn.
Structure as finish
Concrete as a finished surface (e.g. ceiling, wall or floor) lowers material usage in construction and future maintenance needs. And it needn’t be dull: concrete can come in a huge range of colours and textures!
Concrete is a hugely versatile material, allowing structural designers enormous scope to meet and optimise application requirements with concrete in the most sustainable manner.
Wide range of placements
The huge variety of concrete placement techniques allows the use of concrete in a wide range of applications, enabling designers and contractors to choose the optimum technique to deliver efficient projects.