Eco-Friendly Concrete: the Foundation of the Green Building Movement

July 1, 2010

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For years, Mother Earth has been greatly inflicted with many damages and severe degradation brought about by man’s daily and unceasing activities.  For years, environmentalists warn of global warming, species extinction, sea-level increase, air quality degradation, pollution, resource depletion and the release of caustic toxins and harmful wastes to the environment.

With the planet besieged, humanity finally became conscious of its plight and has been taking steps to rectify the problem.  Today, almost every aspect of human life is permeated with a deeper regard for environmental welfare, with issues such as energy and resource conservation, proper waste disposal, recycling and reuse, and many other ecologically-friendly activities at the forefront of the fight against environmental deterioration.

The green consciousness is also evident in the building industry, where the green building movement is fully underway as building experts implement ecologically-sound methods, practices and materials in construction activities.

One of the building materials that come into focus when thinking green is concrete.  Builders are taking a second look at concrete because of the unique properties it possesses, and how remarkably suitable concrete is in supporting environmentally-friendly constructions.

Here are some of the reasons why concrete finish contractors are seeing green possibilities in ordinarily gray concrete:

1. The materials used to make concrete are abundant

Concrete is a product of limestone, which is one of the most abundant materials in the Earth’s surface.  Concrete finish contractors use concrete that can be sourced locally, thereby eliminating transportation and freight costs.

2. Concrete can be made from alternative materials

Developments in research have made it possible for concrete to be produced from alternative materials such as ash, which is ordinarily considered a waste or by-product.  Concrete production using ash and other by-products lessen waste accumulation, putting these waste materials to good use in building construction, instead of merely filling up a landfill.

3. Concrete can be recycled

Concrete finish contractors know that concrete can be reused.  Once concrete slabs are no longer in use, either due to damages or an end to their useful life, they are crushed into small aggregates.  Crushing concrete into pieces is an easy process, and applying these crushed concrete materials into new applications such as roads, curbs, or side walks, makes concrete a very recyclable building material.

4. Concrete absorbs heat and reflects light

Concrete finish contractors find concrete useful for energy conservation.  It is capable of absorbing heat in the daytime, and retains this heat to ward of the chill of the night or winter, thereby lessening heating costs within the facility.  This same heat absorption ability makes the interior places cooler in the daytime or at the summer months, resulting to lesser air conditioning costs.  On top of these, concrete finishes bounce back or reflect light away from the surface, further keeping the facility in comfortable temperatures.

5. Concrete is enduring

Concrete finish contractors work with a material that is known for its longevity and imperviousness against many types of damages.  Concrete structures last for decades, with concrete surfaces requiring little repairs, maintenance or even replacement all throughout their life cycle.  This makes concrete an excellent material for sustainable building construction.

With the environment continually exposed to degradations of all kinds, concrete is one of the best building materials that contribute less to this degradation.  Its unique properties make concrete one of the most ecologically-friendly or “green” materials in the planet today.

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