Innovations Within the Construction Industry are Raising the Bar for Companies Worldwide
As companies across the world continue to embrace “green” initiatives in their businesses, different industries are coming up with new methodologies for reducing their carbon footprint. Some of these ideas are worth taking the time to explore.
As we look at the construction industry over the past few years, it has been a surprising source of innovation, with advancements in building methods and materials that have significantly reduced their impact on the environment. With 2236 metric tons of CO2 or close to 39% of the total U.S. emissions, coming from residential and commercial buildings, the construction industry has faced a big social responsibility to evolve in this respect.
Their solution? A number of new technologies – a new concrete casting method developed by Strongcrete, for example, is reducing CO2 emissions of cement used by 20 percent. The key is in a machine known as a RolliT Robot, which performs additional compressions on fresh concrete when casting on horizontal surfaces like roads. This remote-controlled device promises to give us smoother and denser concrete surfaces – while using less cement, which is one of the leading sources of CO2 emissions in the industry.
Another issue that’s faced on building sites is the amount of waste generated and how to dispose of it, but thanks to one California based company, it’s a problem that could soon be eradicated. Watershed Materials has created a plant which uses ultra-high compression to turn excavation waste into concrete masonry units (CMUs). These CMUs are then used in the construction process, not only reducing the amount of waste material going into landfills but also helps minimize redundant construction truck traffic.
While all these ideas are great in and of themselves, there has been one development in the industry that’s promising to transform the way it’s run. After many years of R&D, the David Ball Group PLC announced a sustainable, zero cement structural concrete, called Cemfree.
It’s an alternative to the usual Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) that’s not only more durable but much less impactful to the environment. Cemfree offers up to a 95% reduction in the CO2 emissions compared with OPC. It achieves this by using ground-granulated blast furnace slag, a by-product of iron and steel, to create concrete. By removing cement in the process, the system significantly reduces the embedded CO2 in concrete. Even more impressive is that there are several characteristics of Cemfree that make’s the material superior to the standard OPC.
The construction industry has been a leader in modernizing their operations for the environment, especially in terms of recycling waste products and new manufacturing processes. These are ideas worth noting, and with luck, will be used as inspiration for innovations in other industries.
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