As we’ve already talked about, concrete is one of the most widely used materials in all construction. This is because its raw materials are abundant, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it leaves a relatively small carbon footprint. However, with the ways that it is mass produced and consumed it accounts for 5% of all CO2 emissions. Another problem is the rainwater runoff created by the impervious material and the necessity of producing systems to account for that. If we are going to continue to use concrete at the same pace we need to find more sustainable ways to produce and use this material.
One solution, that I’m familiar with, is to use pervious concrete for roads and sidewalks. Pervious concrete allows water and precipitation to pass through the material the voids within it. By using pervious concrete we can cut down production of runoff systems and have our water supply replenish itself naturally.
However, there are two issues with pervious concrete at this time. The first is that it is not strong enough to endure areas of heavy traffic. And the second is the concern of its use in colder climates, in that it will lose its integrity when freezing and unthawing. So although this is a good solution in some areas of the world, more research needs to be made into improving its strength under those two conditions.