The world is facing an unprecedented period of climate change – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report states that there is only a brief window of time to avoid the very worst effects of climate change, with over 40% of the world’s population “highly vulnerable” to further changes. Through our Concrete Future Roadmap, the cement and concrete industry has committed to producing net zero concrete by 2050 to eliminate our impact on the global climate.
While mitigating climate change is the most important challenge, we must also ensure societies are prepared for its effects. As climate change occurs, we expect more extreme and more varied weather events, so building climate resilient development to provide societies with infrastructure that can withstand these effects becomes even more important.
“Cities also provide opportunities for climate action – green buildings, reliable supplies of clean water and renewable energy, and sustainable transport systems that connect urban and rural areas can all lead to a more inclusive, fairer society.” – IPCC Sixth Assessment Report
Concrete’s role in Resilient Development
Concrete’s key attributes such as its strength, durability, fire and disaster resistance make it the ideal material for resilient construction.Read more
As our climate changes, society’s infrastructure must be resilient to withstand its effects. It must be able to endure hotter and colder temperatures, rising sea levels, powerful winds and storms and natural disasters, among many other extreme weather patterns.
- Concrete is well known for its attributes of strength, durability, resilience and safety, making it the ideal material for resilient communities.
- Its strength and durability mean it has an important role to play in strengthening the resiliency and adaptive capacity of communities to climate-related and nature disasters as concrete construction is better able to survive extreme weather and other catastrophic events than other building materials.
- It provides crucial resilience to critical infrastructure – from water and sanitation to housing and transport networks.
- Thermal mass is a material property that can be used to mitigate impacts of heatwaves, which are predicted to become more common and more extreme. Concrete and natural stone are the materials that have thermal mass that can be utilised by designers to increase thermal comfort, and in extreme cases save lives. Concrete’s thermal mass is also used by designers to reduce demand on air conditioning and hence energy.
- Permeable concrete pavements and permeable concrete block pavings are increasingly being used to address peak rain events and surface flooding. They enable surface water to infiltrate directly into the ground or into attenuated drainage systems that may be part of nature based flooding solutions.
- Concrete is at the heart of efforts to improve the sustainability and resilience of the urban environment: concrete can, for example, reduce urban heat island effect (vs other dark materials and coatings) and absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. It is also fundamental to the provision of resilient affordable housing for vulnerable urban communities.
Key resilience properties: