The future of all construction materials lies in the conservation of the earth’s depleting resources. Sustainability and recycling of concrete waste are key to this construction ethos.
Concrete is more of an environmentally friendly material than many perceive it to be. Its production involves relatively little energy. In buildings and structures, it generates no emissions, needs no toxic preservatives and is inherently resistant to fire. Concrete can also be recycled. Waste from both from demolition and the ready-mixed plant can be used as an aggregate or even a sub-base for roads.
Self-compacting concrete, as mentioned above, eliminates the need for energy intensive compaction on site.
A new development in office buildings is the use of concrete’s thermal capacity – its ability to absorb, store and radiate heat. This helps to save energy by regulating air temperature and thus reducing or eliminating the need for air-conditioning. The winner of the 2001 Irish Concrete Awards, Fingal County Hall, exhibits a fine example of this technology.