As environmental laws increase and more projects call for green technology, people within the construction industry are searching for new solutions. Fortunately, you don’t have to search too hard to find a reputable material that meets the demands of most green buildings.
Environmentally Friendly – meet green construction requirements
Made of all-natural materials, concrete is the most frequently used material on earth other than water. Manufacturing plants use exact-batch technologies that ensure minimal factory waste. Consistent, precise fabrication conditions allow for lower water to cement rations than other materials. Using precast products reduces construction debris on site.
Readily Available – local suppliers, lower transportation emissions
Most regions or cities have several suppliers of precast concrete products. Made from locally available materials, concrete offers lower transportation and production costs than many other materials.
Made From Recycled Content – and recyclable!
Industrial byproducts including fly ash, slag, and silica fume can replace a portion of the cement used in precast concrete. Most steel used as reinforcement is recycled as well. Concrete can be recycled as aggregate in new batches of concrete, reused when buildings are renovated or used in roadbeds or shoreline protection.
Energy-efficient – lower heating and cooling costs
Because precast concrete absorbs and releases heat slowly, it can help reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 25%. Temperatures in concrete buildings fluctuate less, allowing for smaller capacity heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). Smaller, more efficient HVAC systems create less smog and have less of an impact on climate and air quality. Concrete also has a lower thermal gradient difference between developed and undeveloped areas than other materials, reducing the heat island effect. Smaller heat islands have less impact on human and wildlife habitats.
An Important Element in Green Building Certification – LEED points!
The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System awards points for sustainability in various categories; projects require 26 points or more to be LEED certified.
The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute reports that precast concrete can contribute to up to 20 LEED points—more than 75% of the certification requirements.