Sustainability of concrete as Compared to other building materials Sustainability includes economic, environmental, and social concerns for realising a long standing a long- lasting development to humanity. Sustainability of construction includes the lifecycle of all the production, utilization, and destruction, as well as the underlying material, activities and energy flows that generate influence on the planet. In this paper, I will discuss the sustainability of concrete when compared with two other alternative building materials in this case timber and steel (Moriconi, & Corinaldesi, 2003). Building and construction requires a lot of material input, both virgin material resources and recycled construction materials.
These materials have a direct impact on the environment through the refining processes from extracted raw materials to finished building materials. The virgin materials are not final, and thus their recycling leads to improved performance. The building and construction sector produces large quantities of waste about 1100 kg per capita /per annum. This calls for an improved recycling technology. This has made recycling conscious countries put more focus on recycling (Naik & Kraus, 1999). The use of building and other associated construction activities creates more than 4% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, utilize about 40% of the gross energy generated globally and finally consumes more than 40% of the global material resource.
(Naik & Moriconi, 2006) concludes that apart from the US, the rest of the world’s aim is to minimize the CO2 emissions by an average of 50% over the next 5 years in order to prevent large- scale climate change. Some experts however, argue that any reduction (Dhir, Henderson, & Limbachiya, 1998). The usage of energy during building service date, is known as operational energy, and is one of the vital sustainability issues.
Sustainability of ConcreteConcrete plays a crucial role in human life. Concrete virtually shapes the built environment around us, from homes, schools, hospitals, roads, dams, railways and sewerage systems. In deed it is often argued that concrete is in fact the most utilised man-made material. According to (World Businness Council for sustainable Development, 2013), three tonnes of concrete for each man and woman are used for every man, woman and child globally every year, thus making twice as much as total other building materials such as plastic, steel use.
The whole reason of its popularity is its strength, durability, an abundance and affordability thus making it the material of choice. Such a global form of construction has a significant impact on sustainability. According to the World Commission on environment and development; sustainability refers “Meeting the demands of the present without compromising the capability of the future generations to meet their needs and requirements”. It is in the concern for the wellbeing of our planet with human development and continued growth.
On sustainability, the production of concrete more so it’s key ingredient; cement possess a number of sustainability challenges that needs to be managed: production of cement emits carbon dioxide gas and other emissions, the quarrying of sand and ballast leads to other negative impacts such noise, dust and environment biodegradation. In area where water is scarce the use of water in mixing concrete needs to evaluated. The production of Portland cement leads to significant release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Therefore, the development of concrete structures proves to have environmental issues that sustainable development.