Manufacturers of cement, the concrete ingredient with the highest embodied energy, face many environmental concerns as well as opportunities to clean up its act.
According to the recent Economist article “Cracks in the Surface: Why Grey Firms Will Have to Go Green,” cement poses a worldwide challenge. Though its production is the third largest industrial source of pollution, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), its manufacturers have done little to address environmental concerns. To date, the $250 billion-a-year sector has evaded the wrath of activists. However, recent commitments by the 195 signatories of the 2015 United Nations Paris Climate Conference (also known as COP21, the 21st Conference of the Parties) will necessitate a significant and prompt reduction in the material’s carbon footprint. And those ecological advocates are watching.
Concrete faces not only a problem in the production of a key ingredient, but also one of longevity. Steel-reinforced concrete, the most widely used building product in the world, is inherently flawed. The reason? Unprotected steel corrodes. Standard practice dictates a shielding the steel rebar or welded wire fabric with a layer of concrete to safeguard the metal from the oxidation and degradation that would occur if exposed to the elements. However, engineers are finding this method is inadequate, as evidenced by the number of deteriorating bridges and roadways in this country, designed for decades of use, that are now threatened by the premature failure of the reinforcing.
Read the Full Story HERE >>>> Source: Concrete’s Moment of Reckoning | Architect Magazine | Concrete, Technology, Concrete Degradation, Steel, Manufacturers, Cement