Precast concrete already has some significant sustainability advantages when compared to other building materials and methods. Still, we should always try to get better. Low carbon concrete can fight global warming. And precast concrete is the perfect building material to optimize.
Concrete is High Carbon Emitter
There was a recent study by Australian climate scientist Steven Sherwood. His team’s study found that the global temperature increase could be between 2.5 and 4 °C – much higher than initially estimated.
The Paris agreement set the maximum increase at 2°C. Steven Sherwood’s lowest estimate is already higher than that agreed-upon maximum increase. An increase of 2.5 and 4 °C could make much of the world uninhabitable and could make for really wild weather patterns for the rest of us.
Most of us are hunting for ways to lower carbon emissions.
The construction industry accounts for 38% of carbon emissions worldwide. Clearly, reducing the emissions from this industry will have a significant impact on the total emissions.
Almost one ton of carbon dioxide is produced and released for every ton of cement. The average American has a carbon footprint of 16 tons.
Most of the problems with concrete come from the production of Portland cement. In order to make Portland cement, the material that hardens concrete, the limestone, and clay need to be heated to 1,450 °C.
Not only does this process use a ton of fossil fuels, but the whole purpose of the heating is to drive off carbon dioxide. In 2020, 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide was emitted during cement production. 1.5 billion of that was just from the chemical reaction that occurs.
Some of the methods being used to lower the carbon footprint of concrete are using biomass and municipal waste as alternative fuels or finding alternatives to Portland cement-like fly ash or volcanic ash.
£355,000 Grant to Study Precast Concrete
The U.K precast concrete company, Laing O’Rourke, was granted £355,000 from the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF), run by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Laing O’Rourke’s plan is to look at each part of the production process. They want to leave no stone unturned. They will be looking at the use of low-carbon concrete, steel and aggregate, and low carbon technologies. As well as the systems used to create formwork and cure products.
There will be an initial scoping to quantify, prioritize and define the different decarbonization interventions. Once this initial scoping process is finished, the study will do a feasibility study for each intervention.
Why Precast Concrete?
Precast concrete is already a more environmentally friendly option – making it a great material to optimize. Precast concrete is made in a climate-controlled environment. This means that the concrete is cured at the perfect temperature and moisture level. A lot of cast-in-place concrete is wasted because curing goes wrong, and the concrete isn’t strong enough.
Precast concrete is more efficient. Things like the forms used can be reused over and over again. With cast-in-place, those forms are usually thrown away after one use. Decreasing the amount of material used during production also decreases carbon emissions.
American Precast Concrete
If you are looking for an environmentally friendly option for your fencing needs, whether you are a homeowner, architect, construction worker, or working in development, American Precast has the perfect precast concrete options for you! Contact us today for more information.