According to the Chemistry World’s report, concrete is the most widely used material in the world for construction. It is been used by mankind for centuries, and while it has its advantages, it also contributes to the global CO2 emissions, thus polluting the environment.
Today, when mankind is trying to raise eco-consciousness in every aspect, the time has come to review our use of concrete, especially in commercial construction. With the development of new technologies, materials and techniques, it has finally become possible to search for other more convenient and more eco-friendly materials. Here are some of the most efficient options for commercial construction.
Going green is becoming increasingly important in every aspect of our lives. It should come as no surprise that it has gained much popularity in construction as well. While currently straw bales are present only in residential construction, that doesn’t mean they won’t be seen in commercial construction one day. The reason behind their popularity is that they are environmentally friendly. In fact, straw bales are made of oats, barley, wheat, rice, rye and other green materials, and then covered by earthen stucco. They are a waste product used for a good purpose. Furthermore, straw bales provide excellent insulation, when sealed properly, and they can compete with wood, stone and concrete.
As common and versatile as concrete, bricks are used around the globe for pavement, houses and commercial buildings. We see them more frequently as decorative material in rustic designs, but they have a potential that reaches beyond that. Companies like Alex International for Mining and Refractories (AIMR) sell lightweight bricks which are very useful for insulation, because they have substantial structural strength and low capacity for shrinkage. Furthermore, bricks make construction simpler, because they are easily laid flat and joined together in a firm structure.
When building houses, people often use wooden beams to secure them. However, in commercial construction, there is a need for more durability and ability to withstand earthquakes, harsh winds, and other elements. That’s why in this area, it is preferred to use steel beams. To remain in earth-friendly frames, construction companies turn to recycled steel as a great option for saving the environment and getting all the benefits steel offers when it comes to firmness and durability. This is an excellent option for modern architecture which often requires unique and out-of-the-ordinary designs which need customized beams and panels.
New types of concrete
As we’ve mentioned at the beginning, concrete produces a lot of CO2, as a result of the main chemical reaction that makes cement (the key ingredient of concrete). As we are becoming increasingly aware of this, we are seeing a lot of advancements in the industry, especially in developing new concrete additives that could produce more workable and stronger concrete, but without the by-product of CO2 that is harming our planet. The cement industry plays a huge role here since they are wholeheartedly supporting research in this area.
Insulated concrete forms
While we are still searching for more sustainable ways of making concrete, there have been some advancements in the past that are worth mentioning. Insulating concrete forms are one of them. This includes two layers of insulation with one layer of concrete in-between. The sturdy concrete between the layers of insulation may not be produced in the most eco-friendly way, but it does have long term benefits when it comes to energy-efficiency. In fact, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, buildings made in this way can preserve up to 20 percent more energy than wood-frame buildings.
Sustainability should be the main preoccupation of everyone in the commercial construction industry, not only to save money and ensure safety, but also to contribute to a widespread trend of looking at the big picture. When setting foundations for a building, you are not simply constructing someone’s home or business office, you are also contributing to the development of your city and country, and setting foundations for a brighter future.
Guest post by Carolin Petterson
About the Author
Carolin Petterson is a Business Lady and contributor for number of high-class websites. She loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions, but her specialties are sustainability, sustainable business and green living.
Other articles written by Carolin: