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The Surprising Advantages of Concrete

Concrete is so integral to our communities because it is the only material capable of producing the following economic benefits:

-lower carbon footprint over the life cycle of a structure or pavement

-strength, durability, durability and resilience

– maximized energy efficiency, thanks to its thermal mass

-durability in any environment

-construction material that does not burn, rust or rot

-safety and security

-versatility – it can be molded in any shapes

-does not emit gas

-excellent vibration and sound insulation

-low maintenance costs

-100% recyclable; moreover, the materials are abundant in almost all regions of the planet

-It is simply the most versatile building material on earth. Here’s more details:

THE LOWEST CARBON FOOTPRINT

Concrete, best construction material in terms of durability, energy efficiency and total recyclability, combined with industry innovations such as Contempra – low carbon cement – and carbonated concrete or matured with CO2 as water contributes to making it the lowest carbon material on the life cycle of a structure or pavement.

STRENGTH, SUSTAINABILITY AND LOW-COST MAINTENANCE

Concrete lasts several decades longer than alternative building materials and in reality becomes stronger over time. This reduces the total cost of ownership and the environmental impact associated with the greater frequency of rehabilitation or reconstruction.

RESILIENCE

Concrete does not burn, does not rust, does not rot. It is resistant to fire, wind, water, vibration and earthquakes, keeping the population safe and reducing costs. As a result of extreme weather events, concrete structures proved to be the most resilient.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Concrete buildings – the capacity of concrete to store energy (its thermal mass) makes it possible to temper the interior, which reduces the demand for heating and cooling of the building by up to 8% during its lifespan. Used in combination with technologies such as radiant floors and geothermal or hydronic heating and cooling, concrete improves energy efficiency by 70% compared to the National Model Energy Code for Buildings (see some examples). It improves the “passive survival” of a building in the event that services such as electricity, heating or water are interrupted – increasing occupant comfort and minimizing energy requirements for the city as a whole.

Concrete pavements are also energy efficient in several ways. Studies show that over a 50-year period, the intrinsic primary energy required to construct, maintain and rehabilitate a typical concrete pavement represents one third of the energy required for asphalt pavements. The rigid surface of concrete pavements reduces the fuel consumption of heavy trucks and other vehicles and the associated emissions by as much as 7%. And their pale color makes it possible to reduce the heat island effect – which reduces cooling needs – while reducing outdoor lighting needs at night by up to 24%.

WITHOUT  GAS EMISSIONS

A completely inert substance when cured, concrete is literally free of emissions and will not emit gases, toxic compounds or volatile organic compounds.

VERSATILITY

Once hardened, the concrete is strong and durable while when freshly mixed it allows designers to adapt it to any shapes, patterns, textures and surfaces that they can imagine. Innovations such as ultra-high performance concrete, photocatalytic concrete and drainage concrete also allow for new and creative uses – and new ways to address a multitude of sustainable development challenges.

IDEAL FOR ADAPTATION TO NEW USES

Due to concrete strength, acoustic attenuation and fire resistance, concrete buildings can be easily converted for other types of occupancy during their lifetime. The reuse of buildings can thus help to limit urban sprawl, which contributes to the conservation of our resources and the preservation of the environment.

PROFITABLE AND ECONOMIC

Thanks to their durability, resilience, low maintenance requirements and energy efficiency, concrete structures reduce operating costs related to energy consumption, maintenance and reconstruction following disasters. Insurance costs for concrete buildings during construction and their operation are also significantly lower than for buildings constructed with combustible materials and sensitive to moisture.

Concrete pavements are also cost-effective on both the initial cost and the total lifecycle cost, requiring only one-third of the maintenance of a comparable asphalt road over a lifetime of more than 50 years.

100% RECYCLABLE

Concrete can be recycled as aggregate – for use as a foundation material for roads and parking areas, for gabion walls, as riprap to protect the coastline or other applications – or as a granular material, thereby reducing amount of material going to landfill and the need for virgin materials for new construction.

CAN BE PRODUCED LOCALLY

Concrete is usually manufactured using local resources within 160 kilometers of a project site. This greatly reduces travel and pollution and contributes significantly to the local economy.

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