Every year, the construction industry makes strides to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable. After all, construction takes a huge toll on our environment. Starting with the destruction of natural land and the production of important building materials, and proceeding through the building process which releases vast quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere, there’s no singular solution to the construction industry’s pervasive problems with environmental degradation. Even after a project is completed, the resulting building will contribute significantly to our carbon footprint since buildings account for 39 percent of CO2 emissions in the United States.
Fortunately, innovative products and systems are always being developed to combat this problem. In this three-part series, the Orlando construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law will discuss one of the most important factors for reducing our carbon footprint: the implementation of new materials on the project site.
The Environment is a Hot Topic in the Construction Industry
Achieving a more sustainable carbon balance is largely predicated on the innovation and ingenuity of scientists who are working to ensure that our planet is healthy 10, 20, or even 100 years from now. Countless breakthroughs like solar energy, hydropower, and wind energy have initiated a shift toward green energy, but not all of these technologies will help the environment. Many people wrongly believe that the only way to save our planet is to slow construction, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and embrace energy conversion devices like those mentioned above. While they aren’t completely off the mark, their idea of an “absolute solution” is relatively short-sighted. We might not have access to green energy industrial cranes (yet), but we can utilize carbon-clean materials to continue building with a mitigated environmental impact.
CO2-emitting concrete is very detrimental to the environment. With an estimated 33 billion tons of concrete produced annually across the globe, there’s a sharp focus on this important building material and how to alter it to achieve better, more earth-friendly results. Apart from water, concrete is the most commonly utilized building material. If we plan to improve the sustainability of construction, we need to divorce ourselves from traditional concrete construction.
Fortunately, one technology firm, Solidia Technologies, has developed cement and concrete with markedly reduced carbon production. Their cement recipe generates significantly less CO2 than industry-standard ordinary Portland cement (OPC). Their process splices silica and calcium-carbonate bonds into the composition of concrete to create an even stronger form of concrete that emits 30 percent less CO2 than OPC. This composite material isolates CO2 as it dries, thereby reducing its carbon footprint by 70 percent compared to OPC. The company notes that this material can save 1.5 gigatonnes of CO2.
To learn more about the material trends to watch in 2019, read parts two and three.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.