October 22, 2021

Daily Best Articles

Get The Latest Update Here

Reducing Concrete’s Carbon Footprint Despite Growing Demand Is Viable



Concrete is the second most material consumed by humans after water. The ever-increasing human desire for growth has led to us using more and more concrete to construct ever more structures, such as buildings, dams, bridges, and more.

Not only is the production of concrete contributing to global warming, three out of four main ingredients used in concrete production – water, sand, and gravel – are also precious natural resources. While the production of the other ingredient – cement – is just as destructive and requires mining limestone.

Over the past century, humans have used so much concrete that the combined mass of all concrete in the world far outweighs the mass of every plant life on the planet. By some estimates, concrete accounts for over eight percent of global carbon emissions worldwide. Despite being one of the most carbon-intensive industries in the world, the demand for concrete has been increasing year on year.

While countries around the world are looking for ways to curb their carbon footprints, reducing the environmental impacts of concrete usage is critical.

New research from a team of scientists at MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub may finally have a solution. In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers outline ways in which emissions from concrete could be minimized.

The paper suggests an extensive life-cycle assessment of the construction industry to estimate how greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies could minimize the total emissions annually, and find out how those reductions would compare to national greenhouse gas emission targets.

The researchers found that the reduction strategies could lead to a reduction of emissions from the pavement and building construction by up 65 percent and 57 percent respectively, between the years 2016 and 2050. This is despite continuing increase in demand for concrete.

The researchers added that concrete’s unique attributes can influence long-term sustainability and performance in the systems they are used. Pavements built using concrete can improve vehicle fuel efficiency, while structures built out of concrete can endure natural disasters without needing energy and material-intensive repairs.

Cover Image: Shutterstock



Source link