蜜桃社区

  • Integral Waterproofing & Durability Solutions
  • Contact Us

As great as it can be for construction, concrete often comes with a hefty carbon footprint. However, if you saw our post on low-carbon concrete, you know that it doesn鈥檛 always have to be that way. After all, more companies are coming out with mix designs that reduce the carbon emissions from concrete.

That鈥檚 not all either! Just recently, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced their plan to develop a by the end of 2021.

Like many in the construction industry, the PCA knows that it鈥檚 critical to continually increase the sustainability of concrete. It鈥檚 one of the most affordable and durable materials capable of withstanding safety concerns like fire and mold. Without it, construction could become just that much more costly.

That鈥檚 what makes low-carbon concrete and similar green practices so important. With them, we can continue using one of the better building materials available while mitigating the impact it has on the environment.

Already helping out with this cause? Whether you鈥檙e considering low-carbon concrete or already practicing other green methods, there are still more ways to lower your concrete carbon footprint. And here, we鈥檒l walk you through four of them.

A batching plant is using less cement to reduce the concrete's carbon footprint.

1. Reduce the Amount of Cement You Need聽

To start, you might as well first look at the ingredients of your concrete mix. After all, there鈥檚 a reason that concrete is considered to be a major contributor of carbon. And that鈥檚 mainly due to one particular material found in its mix: cement. For every metric ton of cement produced, about another metric ton of CO2 is released into the atmosphere. So a great way to reduce the carbon in your concrete is to reduce the amount of cement it needs.

When Planning Out Your Concrete Mix, You Can Apply These Cement Reduction Tips

There are a number of ways to reduce the cement in your concrete mix.

One method you could try involves avoiding the use of small aggregate unless necessary. That means using well-graded aggregates and keeping your maximum aggregate size to at least 20 mm (0.79 in). Why? Well, together, cement and water form a paste that fills the void between aggregates. It鈥檚 what makes concrete workable without losing form. And if there are larger, well-graded aggregates within the concrete mix, there are . That reduces the amount of cement in the mixture. This not only in turn lowers the concrete’s carbon footprint, but it also reduces concrete shrinkage as well as the cost of the concrete itself.

The also suggests reducing cement by adding admixtures and additions into the mix. For example, water-reducing admixtures can help maintain the slump and strength of a concrete mix after reducing its cement content, making for the most efficient use of the remaining cement. And partial cement replacements, such as ground-granulated blast-furnace slag (itself a recycled product), can reduce the amount of cement needed and lower the overall carbon emission of a concrete mix.

Even If You Go for High-Strength Concrete, There鈥檚 Still a Way to Reduce Cement

When you need high-strength concrete, reducing cement might initially look more like a dilemma. You typically need an even bigger amount of cement to get more strength. However, this also leads to higher carbon emissions.

Still, there are ways around that. For certain structures, the use of high-strength concrete allows workers to construct concrete elements using thinner sections, reducing the total volume of concrete needed .

A construction worker is adding the VOC-free Hard-Cem directly into the concrete mix.

2. Look for Concrete Technologies with No Volatile Organic Compounds

A less obvious way to reduce your concrete carbon footprint is to look for technologies that do not use . While VOCs do not emit CO2 directly, they do require energy for their manufacturing and distribution. Even worse, they contribute to ground-level ozone, which is integral to creating smog. VOCs may also be harmful to workers if they are exposed to the fumes as that exposure can cause serious respiratory and cardiac symptoms.

In short, it鈥檚 best for both the environment and your worksite safety to find VOC-free technology.

That Can Give You Non-Toxic and Permanent Concrete Waterproofing

For instance, if you鈥檙e planning on waterproofing your concrete, consider going with our concrete admixture. It offers a that transforms your concrete into a waterproof barrier. That way, you save on the labor, time, and expense needed to install an external waterproofing membrane. In return, you have Krystol technology dormant within your concrete structure that will last for the entirety of its life. So whenever it comes into contact with water, this technology will form insoluble crystals that will fill up concrete capillaries, pores, and micro-cracks. As a result, the concrete structure will be able to block out water ingress on its own.

It Can Also Provide You with Abrasion-Resistant Concrete

Concrete is more sustainable if it is durable and can stand the test of time. To protect concrete from damage due to abrasion and erosion, try our integral hardening admixture . It doesn鈥檛 take intensive effort to apply. Just add it to your concrete mix during batching. You鈥檒l soon have concrete with better resistance to abrasive and erosive wear. You鈥檒l also be able to reduce the need to replace your concrete, minimizing the need to add more cement to a project later down the road.

There鈥檚 an Opportunity to Make Use of Non-Toxic Concrete Repair Products as Well

We also offer a . That way, if your new or aging structure runs into any leaking cracks, penetrations, tie-holes, or defects, you can easily repair them with our VOC-free products. They use the same technology as our crystalline waterproofing admixture KIM. So you can expect a thorough waterproofing and repair treatment.

A carbon capture plant is surrounded by grass and blue sky.

3. Apply Carbon Sequestration to Your Project

You could also use a less conventional method with . While not as widespread just yet, it鈥檚 a process that offers you two great opportunities. With it, you could not only curb your project鈥檚 carbon emissions, but you could also reduce how much carbon other companies produce as well.

You鈥檒l Need the Technology First

This might involve getting your company to create their own . However, you could also partner with a concrete producer that makes use of this technology already.

Once that鈥檚 settled, the carbon is sourced from industrial emitters and converted into a mineral. That is then collected, purified, and distributed to concrete producers. The concrete producers then store the mineralized carbon in pressurized tanks until they鈥檙e ready to use it.

When ready, they鈥檒l inject that carbon into a wet concrete mix. From there, the carbon will react to the calcium ions within the cement. This reaction will go on to produce calcium carbonate, which will remain within the concrete.

The Process Is Worth It for the Building and Environmental Benefits

It doesn鈥檛 even negatively affect the concrete鈥檚 properties. In fact, it gives the building material increased compressive strength while reducing the volume of cement it has. As a result, you get strong concrete for less carbon-intensive concrete and the ability to permanently take away some of the carbon emitted from industrial companies.

Blue sky is peeking out between the curves of two concrete walls.

4. Build with a Carbon-Absorbing Type of Concrete

Of course, none of these previous methods take into account concrete鈥檚 own . This isn鈥檛 a rapid process, however. Still, according to Scientific American, after some decades, there鈥檚 a chance that concrete could remove a significant portion of emissions that it put into the atmosphere. And researchers are working on methods to increase its ability to sequester carbon after it is placed.

Working with carbon-absorbing concrete alone may not be enough. As Scientific American noted in their 2018 article on cement producers, a combination of multiple carbon footprint reduction methods may produce better results. So whether or not you鈥檙e already using low-carbon concrete or one of the methods listed here already, consider what methods you haven鈥檛 tried. Think about how you can apply them. It can make your company that much greener and that much more prepared for a sustainable future.

Related News

  • Concrete Best Practices

    Cold Weather Concreting (Came Early this Year)

    Written by: Kevin Yuers

    It is officially winter and it came early this year. For me, winter officially starts when I receive that first...

    Read More
  • Concrete Waterproofing

    Can anything really be waterproof?

    Written by: Kevin Yuers

    Traditionally, waterproofing of concrete structures has been accomplished using a membrane of some sort. The membrane can be anything from...

    Read More
  • Concrete Waterproofing

    What does waterproof mean?

    Written by: Kevin Yuers

    What does it mean to be 鈥渨aterproof鈥? Can anything really be truly waterproof? I鈥檓 not speaking philosophically. The question is...

    Read More
  • Sustainable Construction
    蜜桃社区's logo consists of a yellow diamond behind a gray webbed globe that has the name "蜜桃社区" over top of it.

    FIFA World Cup Encourages Green Tourism

    Written by: Alex Emlyn

    As I was enjoying the opening weekend of the FIFA World Cup, I couldn鈥檛 help but wonder if South Africa...

    Read More