Going green is not a new concept by any means, but it is part of an expansion  in recent innovations involving concrete and similar materials. This week we are going to explore a few of these innovations and what it means for the future of concrete and the construction industry.

eco-friendly-house

Image Credit: flickr

Cellular Fibro Concrete:

Cellular Fibro Concrete or CFC for short is a type of cellular concrete that is produced from a prefabricated dry mix. CFC comes packed in either 25 or 500 KG bags and is mixed using only water.  The advantage is it eliminates all the other components and expensive equipment traditionally used to make cement.  “The technology is unique because cellular concrete can be prepared using standard mixing equipment, applied for preparation of mixtures or concretes for construction” The material is not only lightweight it is also fire resistant, water resistant and resistant to frost.  It also possesses excellent thermal and sound insulation properties and is environmentally friendly.

“CFC allows for construction works to be fulfilled quickly, with high quality and low costs, as much as costs can be reduced in projects when construction forms and architectural designs are unusual and unique. Construction works can be carried out even when there is no electricity at the site.”

Glow in the Dark Concrete Pavers:

NightTec Leuchsteine is the name given to glow in the dark pavers recently co-developed by  Kann and NightTec. The glow in the dark concrete pavers eliminate the need for artificial lighting thanks to their ability to use sunlight to power their lighting, making them an energy source that is eco friendly.

What makes pavers glow is that they are imbedded with Phosphorescent crystals on the surface that capture the suns energy and use it to emit light for up to 10 hours.  While the pavers appear white during the day they will glow blue or green at night depending on their selected coating.  Glow in the dark concrete offers more possibilities in design patterns, floors, table tops, countertops, walkways and more.

Pervious Concrete:

Pervious concrete or porous concrete is a specially designed concrete that is highly porous and used for the creation of pavements. Because of its high porosity it allows water from rain fall or other sources to pass directly through it. This reduces run off and allows for ground water recharge.  Pervious concrete can be used in the management of storm water on a regional and local basis. This helps reduce the need for retention ponds, and other storm water management systems.  It can be used to gain LEED points and contribute to support green, sustainable growth.  It can be used for residential streets, parking areas, pedestrian walkways and green houses

Self Healing Concrete:

Researchers have demonstrated a way to give concrete surfaces the ability to use sunlight to heal small cracks when they appear, making it possible for bridges and other structures the ability to last longer.  Small cracks on concrete surfaces can lead to bigger problems if they are not immediately taken care of. This coating prevents water, deicing salt, seawater and carbon dioxide from penetrating the structure and leading it down the path deterioration.  The coating contains polymer microcapsules, filled with a solution that exposed to light turns into a water resistant solid. When the surface of coated concrete is damaged, capsules break open releasing the solution which hardens and fills the crack.

A shift has taken place in the attitudes toward sustainability and resource conversation. As more and more builders and homeowners embrace green building, it makes sense why concrete has undergone such a transformation. Concrete needed to evolve because it is a vital ingredient in the construction process.  It can serve as an example that if concrete can evolve, so can many other things.  Now, where is that flying car?

 

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