Concrete is the most commonly used man-made material on earth, with its versatility and durability being two of its main traits. However, despite its effectiveness, creating concrete has a notable environmental impact. For example, manufacturing cement requires high amounts of energy and water and produces as much as 7% of all carbon dioxide emissions each year. Also, it causes problems with the limestone supply and landfills due to the nature of concrete disposal.
With construction wanting to play a bigger role in being eco-friendly, we see a rise in demand for sustainable concrete architecture. This poses a great opportunity for concrete contractors to create a new revenue stream for themselves. However, there is always a learning curve with these new practices. So, with that in mind, here’s some advice to make the most out of sustainable concrete alternatives.
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Know Your Sustainable Concrete Materials
There are multiple types of sustainable concrete out there, and your business may opt to focus on one or offer multiple different types. One of these easier ones for a concrete contractor to start with is recycled crushed concrete that breaks down original structures. This is made from the demolished parts and components of concrete structures, broken down into smaller particle sizes. The size of the final product will determine how it is used. Large pieces can serve as breakwaters, while smaller particles can be a part of new concrete. Companies can either work with another business that procures waste concrete for crushing or simply use some from their own projects.
There are other, more avant-garde, but still effective ways of creating eco-friendly concrete. One such example has it in the name – earth-friendly concrete. Construction company Wagners created a product from blast furnace slag and coal power generation instead of Portland cement. By using this industrial waste to help supplement cement content, it’s possible to create concrete structures with far fewer carbon emissions. Examples of this in action can be Wellcamp Airport in Brisbane, Australia.
Increasing The Lifespan of Existing Concrete
We mentioned earlier how concrete disposal could be a major environmental concern because it’s difficult to break it down, leading to it sitting in landfills unless recycled. This means that it’s important to keep existing concrete structures standing as long as one possibly can. This means following proper maintenance practices and working to make sure that you are mixing concrete correctly to make sure that structures don’t wear down or need to be demolished before their time. Quality control is a key part of being eco-friendly to ensure that the resources you do consume aren’t wasted.
Improving Energy Efficiency
As discussed earlier, part of the issue with concrete is not only its own properties but the sheer volume of energy required to create it. This means that concrete companies and contractors need to pay special attention to their energy efficiency to try and cut down wherever they can. A few common options are on the table to try and accomplish this, from implementing process control and management systems to moving from a wet conversion process to a semi-wet conversion process. If you’re struggling to find areas of operation where you can be more energy-efficient, there are tools or consultants you can reach out to and appraise your business from this perspective.
Keeping Track of Regulations/News
Businesses need to have a plan in place to follow environmental regulations and new developments in the world of green concrete. There may be a lot of options out there that are suitable for your business, but you can’t implement them if you’re not aware. In addition, if regulations change and your business don’t adapt, you may still be held responsible in terms of fines and other consequences. There should be a person or people in charge of receiving this information and sending it to other members of your team. In some cases, there may be a new product that you want to add to your line.
Dispel Myths To Your Clients
We should mention the fact that in some cases, it may not be your team that’s reticent to get on board with sustainable concrete, but your clients. Like in many other areas, there can be a perception that a sustainable product is environmentally superior but practically less reliable than its conventional counterpart, especially in an area like construction. However, suppose a client gives that line of reasoning. In that case, it’s important to explain to them that sustainable concrete is already in use around the world and performing every bit as successfully as conventional concrete. Also, the environmental benefits can be passed onto your clients in other ways, like generating positive marketing buzz. Explaining this will help them get over their trepidation.
Modernize Your Business In Other Ways
Investing in sustainable concrete flooring is a great way to open up your business to a whole new set of customers. However, when it comes to moving your business into the future, you don’t want to start there. Sustainable concrete technology not only makes your business more effective when it comes to utilizing these techniques, but it also provides a variety of other benefits.
For example, sustainable concrete materials tend to cost more than a lot of their conventional counterparts. This makes cost analysis essential to make sure that these jobs stay profitable for you. Project management software such as eSUB fulfills a critical role by making it possible to compare your bids and actuals, helping you zero in on the best cost possible to charge for your sustainable concrete work. You can also make sure that your team is staying to the most eco-friendly procedures possible through employee and equipment tracking.