By visiting practically any populated area around the world, it is more than likely that you would be surrounded by an abundance of concrete no matter where you look. Coming in the form of park benches, bins, pathways, walls, poles, bridges, and even entire buildings of various shapes and sizes, it is safe to say that our society places a heavy reliance upon concrete as a building material, despite the ecological impact it may have in the long run. By reading through this informative article before renting concrete mixers for your projects, you may find out a few ways in which you and your business can enjoy the benefits of concrete while reducing your environmental footprint in the process.
The Current Impact of Concrete on Our Environment.
When you take the time to look at the various properties that concrete possesses, such as its impressive strength and durability, it becomes incredibly easy to see why it has become the most widely used building material throughout recorded history. Since concrete started becoming more easily accessible and produced at a massive scale in the early 20th century, it is currently estimated that roughly 70% of the world’s population lives or works within concrete structures.
With the volume at which concrete is being used throughout the modern world, being roughly 10 billion tonnes being produced yearly, this building material has become the most consumed substance in the world, placing water in 2nd position. It should go without saying that this has a serious impact on the environment around us, as this the production of concrete needs large amounts of natural resources to be consumed with very little being given back to nature. This results in excessive amounts of natural resources being converted into waste that provides very few benefits in return. With the rate at which we are producing concrete, it is expected that this building material will be contributing to roughly 12% of the world’s greenhouse gasses by 2060.
It is because of these statistics, as well as the current state of climate change in the world, that countless businesses and construction companies throughout the world have been opting into using eco-friendly alternatives as a means to reduce their impact on the environment around them. However, as a result of how concrete is normally produced along with the unique benefits that it holds over other building materials, many have found it difficult to understand how it is possible to make concrete a safer material to use without reducing its strength and durability. Thankfully, the process of making green concrete is actually much easier to understand than many tend to think initially.
Eco-Friendly Concrete Aggregates and Their Benefits
By looking at the individual ingredients that concrete uses, along with the various effects it can have on the world around us, it becomes abundantly clear as to why we should be using alternative solutions to concrete. Within its ingredients alone, there are two major problems that come with producing concrete. Not only does this building material use excessive amounts of water, but it also uses large quantities of cement too. On the surface, cement may not seem like a big deal, but in actual fact, this building material accounts for roughly 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions thanks to the combustion of fossil fuels in order to heat up the kilns, which then leads to a chemical reaction with limestone that releases additional carbon in the process.
Thankfully, many changes are taking place in a variety of aspects regarding the production of concrete in order to make it far safer and more sustainable for us to use in the long run. This can be seen in how the standards and processes within the industry are being reworked as well as how different ingredients and materials are used during the production of cement too. While various sectors within various industries are all tackling these issues from their own angles and approaches, one of the most impactful methods of reducing the impact of construction on our world is through the widespread use of green concrete.
Green only by nature rather than by presentation, this form of concrete takes an eco-friendlier approach to construction in the industry. By keeping sustainability as its main focus, companies that make and supply this form of concrete look towards the use of residual materials and other waste that is produced by a number of different industries while also searching for less financially and environmentally expensive methods of production. You may expect this comparatively cheaper form of concrete that is also made of residual waste from other industries to be significantly weaker as a building material, but the truth is that it actually becomes far more durable in the process.
The waste that is collected and used to make this eco-friendly form of concrete is made up of all or a combination of different materials, depending on your approach and where you place your orders from. The individual components of green concrete come in the form of:
Wash water – this is water that is carried in special tanks on mixer trucks and is used to clean the inside of concrete mixers after use. Reusing this water when making your concrete can be far safer without affecting the quality thereof in the slightest.
Silica fumes – also referred to as “micro silica,” this is a by-product of alloy and silicon production that comes in the form of an ultrafine powder. When used in concrete, silica fumes can displace roughly 7% – 12% of cement while also making it more durable through the increase of compressive strength and the decrease of permeability.
Ashcrete – “fly ash,” is a substance that is produced when coal is pulverized in power plants that generate electricity, only to then be discarded in landfills. Ashcrete is a modified but equally durable form of concrete that relies upon fly ash being mixed with lime and water. When using high-volume fly ash in your concrete, a quarter of your cement can be replaced, leading to concrete that is significantly stronger and less likely to shrink while also becoming less reactive to alkali-silica too.
Fibrous concrete/papercrete – as the name suggests, this is a form of concrete that replaces some of the cement with paper. While papercrete is not able to replace all the cement in the mixture, small amounts being added can still be enough to combat the negative effects of concrete production when used on a large scale.
Concrete debris – using leftover concrete or concrete debris caused by demolitions or renovations is an ingenious way to cut down on the consumption of natural resources without changing the ingredients used during construction. This not only saves large amounts of landfill space and reduces costs significantly, but also allows your concrete to remain just as high in quality when produced through traditional means.
Plastic waste – When taking into account that plastic is a non-biodegradable material, using it within construction can be an incredibly smart move. While concrete that makes use of plastic waste is only able to provide strength in limited environments, it can still be highly reliable when utilized correctly while being able to replace up to 20% of the aggregate traditionally used in concrete.
Blast furnace slag – similar to fly ash, being a by-product coming from heated furnaces, blast furnace slag is a material that provides increased durability while replacing about 70% – 80% of cement within concrete. This component is first produced by taking the molten iron slag from recently used blast furnaces and drenching them in steam or water.
Post-consumer glass – surprisingly, glass can be a versatile building material that also works as an eco-friendly replacement for cement. As post-consumer glass can be recycled and reused multiple times without its chemical properties changing at all, this aggregate helps to increase the durability of concrete while reducing landfill waste too.
With so many alternatives available that can be used within the concrete, each producing their own benefits while all helping to reduce harmful practices within construction industries as well as the emission of CO2 to a large degree, it becomes far easier for companies to start opting into alternative methods of construction. As these environmentally cleaner alternatives become more easily accessible throughout the world, bringing along heavily-reduced construction prices that still provide an increase in quality, the negative impact that construction can have on our environment is sure to be decreased at a significant rate over time.
Where to Look When Starting on Home Renovations or Professional Work
Before getting started on any project you may be wanting to work on, whether in a professional capacity or even as someone wanting to do their own home renovations, it is important that you first find reliable suppliers of both building materials as well as construction tools too. This is an important step as not every supplier is able to provide the same quality product to their clients, so doing the proper research can be incredibly beneficial towards your projects in the long run.
When it comes to concrete mixers and other high-power construction tools, however, you cannot go wrong with BS Power, South Africa’s leading importer and manufacturer of tools and equipment used in a variety of different industries. By offering products from brands such as Stratton, Honda, Briggs, Baumax, Husqvarna, and Stihl, we can provide you everything you would need from chainsaws used in forestry to lawnmowers used for landscaping. When it comes to construction, however, we provide a wide range of concrete mixers, plate compactors, rammers, and far more, ensuring that everything that you would need on the construction site can all be found in just a single location.
Along with our ever-expanding range of high-performance power tools, shopping with us at BS power can provide a heap of additional benefits. Not only do we provide an abundance of handsome discounts that allow you to increase your savings without skimping on quality, but we also make sure that you are always within arm’s reach of our team of qualified staff members that are always happy and ready to help you at a moment’s notice. Boasting a collective 100 years of work experience within the field, our staff can offer advice and recommendations regarding any number of aspects within construction.
For more information on our concrete mixers, as well as which concrete mixers would be best suited to your specific construction project, do not hesitate to reach out to us today. By clicking on the “contact us” button that can be found on the top of this very web page, you will be given a number of different contact methods. Ranging from an email to a phone call, through our website directly, or by visiting our Brackenfell branch in person, there is always a way for you to reach out to us in a way you find most convenient.