As a highly sus­tain­able build­ing ma­te­rial, con­crete has some ex­cel­lent at­tributes: Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit En­ter­prises Hous­ing

As a highly sus­tain­able build­ing ma­te­rial, con­crete has some ex­cel­lent aʃributes which make it very im­por­tant in to­day’s con­text, writes

MGS Architecture - - Front Page - Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit En­ter­prises Hous­ing.

With the term ‘con­crete jun­gle’ hav­ing be­come so pop­u­lar and widely used, it is easy to over­look that this build­ing ma­te­rial has been around for so long and for very good rea­sons. Con­crete is easy to pro­duce and use, but the fact is that con­crete is an em­i­nently en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly build­ing ma­te­rial dur­ing the en­tire span of its life cy­cle, be­gin­ning from its pro­duc­tion as a raw ma­te­rial right un­til it is de­mol­ished. This ren­ders it the per­fect and ob­vi­ous build­ing op­tion for the con­struc­tion of sus­tain­able homes.

The ce­ment uti­lized in con­crete is sourced from lime­stone, which is an abun­dantly avail­able min­eral that will lit­er­ally never de­plete. How­ever, one can also man­u­fac­ture con­crete from ma­te­ri­als such as slag ce­ment and fly ash, both of which are gen­er­ated by in­dus­tries like steel mills and power plants as waste by-prod­ucts. From the point of re­cy­cling of ex­ist­ing re­sources, con­crete is there­fore a real boon to the planet.

Con­crete is also highly durable, and is used in erect­ing build­ings which are not sub­ject to rust, do not burn or oth­er­wise de­grade. In fact, build­ings built with con­crete have twice or even thrice the life­span of build­ings erected with many other con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als. The life­span of con­crete build­ing prod­ucts can be dou­ble or triple than that of other com­mon build­ing ma­te­ri­als.

What is equally im­por­tant from a sus­tain­abil­ity per­spec­tive is that the use of con­crete in form­ing the foun­da­tion, floors and walls of a build­ing, ren­ders it ex­tremely en­ergy-ef­fi­cient. One of the ben­e­fits of this build­ing ma­te­rial is its abil­ity to ab­sorb and re­tain heat. In other words, peo­ple who live in homes built of con­crete save sig­nif­i­cantly on both cool­ing and heat­ing bills. In a con­crete build­ing, one can in­stall air con­di­tion­ers of lower ca­pac­ity, re­sult­ing in sig­nif­i­cant elec­tric­ity sav­ings.

Also, con­crete re­duces the in­ci­dence of pro­cesses that re­sult in ur­ban heat is­lands. When con­crete, which is in­her­ently light in colour, is used to build pave­ments and roofs, the end re­sult is that less heat is ab­sorbed and more in-com­ing so­lar ra­di­a­tion is de­flected.

Con­crete as a build­ing ma­te­rial re­sults in the least waste of raw build­ing ma­te­ri­als, as it can be man­u­fac­tured and used in the ac­tual quan­ti­ties re­quired. Once a build­ing or struc­ture built of con­crete has com­pleted its life cy­cle, or ful­filled the pur­pose for which it was erected, the con­crete can be re­cy­cled into ag­gre­gate, which can then be used to lay con­crete pave­ments or pro­vide an un­der­ly­ing base for roads.

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