As concerns about climate change and humanity’s environmental footprint increase, carbon reduction will doubtless remain a prominent topic in 2019. Thankfully, certain scientists, manufacturers, and designers have acknowledged the problem, and many are taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with their products and research materials or methods.
The following list includes several recent material trends with the capacity to help change the carbon balance in 2019.
Discussions about carbon dioxide–emitting building materials all seem to focus on concrete—for good reason. Approximately 33 billion tons of concrete are produced worldwide every year, making it the second-most utilized material after water. Any serious effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions will require improving concrete’s environmental performance.
Piscataway, N.J.–based Solidia Technologies makes cement and concrete with significantly reduced carbon footprints. The company utilizes a cement recipe that generates less carbon dioxide than ordinary Portland cement (OPC), the industry benchmark. The chemical process forms silica and calcium-carbonate bonds between cement particles that are stronger than those in OPC. Notably, the Solidia Cement emits 30 percent fewer greenhouse gases than the Portland variety.
For its concrete offering, the company notes that the composite material sequesters carbon dioxide as it cures. Thus, in combination, the lower emissions and absorbed carbon add up to a 70 percent reduction in carbon footprint, a remarkable savings of 1.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, according to the company.