Concrete is the second most-consumed material in the world after water.
Do we still have time to rescue the world?
I learned today that Concrete is the second most-consumed material in the world after water.
Due to the sheer mass of concrete consumed annually and its associated resource and environmental impacts, improving the materials management of concrete consumption is a critical problem in the United States. It is increasingly evident that society lacks knowledge of the collective material composition of the urban environment-of how we produce, consume and dispose of concrete. This thesis argues that the lack of informational linkages is driving the individual approaches of the construction industry, policymakers, environmental agencies, and waste management industry, which results in the current segregated and government-subsidized material management.
( from MIT research paper. https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/33030 )
Of course, we need more housing, we need more roads, etc. The next generation is meant to be an “ indoor generation” which makes it much more important to understand the dynamics of sustainable materials that can be used in real estate and construction.
This lightweight cement is made with recycled waste glass and can be 3-D printed into concrete homes or shelters. (Pawel Sikora/Technische Universität)
“The second thing is, we have a big problem with natural sand,”. Many nations are worried about using up their dwindling reserves of construction sand. “We have to look for solutions in how to find alternatives for the sand before it becomes a global problem,”.
Concrete made from recycled and waste materials could alleviate the burden on new, natural materials that are becoming scarcer. The nature of 3D printing means it creates less waste. No framework is needed for pouring the concrete into the shape of a building, which reduces the number of materials required for an oddly shaped foundation or even just a typical cement wall.