Concrete is the most widely used building material on earth. It has a 2,000 year track record of helping build the Roman Empire to building today’s modern societies. As a result of its versatility, beauty, strength, and durability, concrete is used in most types of construction, including homes, buildings, roads, bridges, airports, subways, and water resource structures. And with today’s heightened awareness and demand for sustainable construction, concrete performs well when compared to other building materials.
Concrete is a sustainable building material due to its many eco-friendly features. The production of concrete is resource efficient and the ingredients require little processing. Most materials for concrete are acquired and manufactured locally which minimizes transportation energy. Concrete building systems combine insulation with high thermal mass and low air infiltration to make homes and buildings more energy efficient. Concrete has a long service life for buildings and transportation infrastructure, thereby increasing the period between reconstruction, repair, and maintenance and the associated environmental impact. Concrete, when used as pavement or exterior cladding, helps minimize the urban heat island effect, thus reducing the energy required to heat and cool our homes and buildings. Concrete incorporates recycled industrial byproducts such as fly ash, slag, and silica fume that helps reduce embodied energy, carbon footprint, and waste.