7 tips on how to improve the sustainability of concrete construction

Concrete is a fundamental material for urban development, known for its strength and ability to adapt to different needs. Yet, its production has a downside; it contributes to environmental damage, mainly from the significant carbon emissions it releases. 

As our global concerns about the environment grow and we encounter more and more ecological challenges, it’s becoming vital for the construction industry to search for and implement greener options. 

This doesn’t just mean making small changes to the current ways we use concrete; it means thinking outside the box, coming up with innovative solutions, and embracing new, more sustainable methods. 

By taking these steps, we have the potential to turn concrete from an environmental issue into a sustainable building material that benefits both our cities and our planet. So, how can we ensure this transformation? Below, we delve into ten in-depth strategies to pave the way for eco-friendly concrete.

The Environmental Impact of Concrete Construction

Concrete’s widespread use has notable environmental ramifications. It’s the largest consumer of raw materials globally and its production emits a significant amount of CO2. 

Plus, when not sourced responsibly, aggregates can deplete natural resources and disrupt ecosystems. Recognising these impacts underscores the importance of sustainable measures.

Construction is fundamental to human society, yet it:

  • Accounts for roughly 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions.
  • Ranks as the second largest polluter, following extractive industries.
  • Heavily depends on concrete, a material second in consumption only to water.

We guide you to improve the sustainability of concrete construction

Because of the serious implication concreting has on the environment, it is important to embrace the following strategies. Only together can we help the construction industry become more sustainable.

1. Embrace Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs)

SCMs, like fly ash and slag, can partially replace cement in mixes. Beyond recycling waste, this modification substantially decreases CO2 emissions, making concrete production more eco-friendly.

2. Refine Mix Designs for Sustainability

Rethinking the traditional concrete mix is vital. By utilising materials with a softer environmental touch and decreasing overall material use, concrete’s ecological impact can be minimised.

3. Use AI sensors to optimise the concreting process

Using AI sensors that you embed in the concrete can make the concreting process more sustainable. Specifically in these two ways: 

  • Sending real time data that lets you know when the curing is completed, which saves time and minimises the trips to the site.
  • By using sensors you can optimise the concrete mixture to use less cement without compromising the concrete’s strength.

4. Use Recycled Aggregates

Recycled aggregates derived from old concrete structures can be a worthy replacement for freshly mined stones. This practice supports a circular economy, ensuring resources aren’t wasted.

5. Align with Green Building Standards

Seeking certifications such as LEED or BREEAM can steer construction projects in a sustainable direction. These certifications provide frameworks and standards that highlight best practices in green construction.

6. Invest in Worker Education

A well-informed construction team can be the difference between a project’s sustainability success or failure. Regular training ensures that sustainability remains at the forefront of every decision.

7. Prioritise Transparent Sourcing

Ensure that materials are sourced from suppliers that are committed to environmentally friendly extraction and transportation. Transparent sourcing can make a substantial difference in the environmental impact of a project.

Things to keep in mind

Redefining our relationship with concrete is more than an industry shift; it’s an environmental imperative. By embedding these strategies into our construction blueprint, we can ensure that future generations inherit both durable infrastructures and a healthier planet. 

The shift towards eco-friendly concrete isn’t just a possibility; it’s a pressing necessity.

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