We have a slogan in the Fraserway PreKast office that says, “Grey is the new Green”. We often get the question, “How is concrete green?” Often people interchange the words “cement” and “concrete”. But Portland cement is only one of the ingredients that make up concrete. Because cement gets quite a bad rap, it is often thought that concrete is not a green building material. But the end product of the manufacture of concrete presents a very green building alternative. Concrete is sustainable and green because it is long-lasting, sustainable, energy efficient, versatile and helps achieve LEED certification.
Concrete is durable
Concrete is very durable and is resistant to heating and thawing; it is water and wind resistant and can’t be damaged or destroyed by bugs and mould. After all, concrete lasts a long time. Look at the iconic building such as the Roman Coliseum in Italy. It is built from cement and sand and was completed in 80AD. Precast concrete increases in compressive strength many years after is is cast. When you don’t have to replace components or buildings for hundreds or thousands of years, we are keeping trees in the forests and ensuring that materials such as plastics stay out of the landfill and water sources.
Concrete contributes to LEED Certification
Sustainability is what drives LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the set of green building specifications being adopted by a significant and growing number of governments and large developers. Precast concrete components can help construction companies achieve as many as 21 of the 26 points needed to achieve LEED certification for new buildings. Fraserway PreKast is one of the most efficient concrete manufacturing facilities in the Greater Vancouver Regional District and works together to help companies meet their LEED certifications. The plant is CSA 23.4 certified.
Concrete helps save energy
Concrete buildings are very energy-efficient, especially in North America where we have climates that have severe daily temperature changes. It is not an insulating material but it can store warmth or cold and thus reduce indoor temperature variations. Concrete can help the energy performance of a building.
Minimize site disruption and destruction
Precast concrete products are brought to construction sites when they are ready to be erected or installed. This is beneficial in busy urban cities and in ecologically sensitive zones. When concrete elements are delivered as needed there is less traffic to the site, less noise and the environmental sensitivities can be taken into consideration.
Locally produced precast concrete
All of the pre-cast products at Fraserway PreKast are locally designed and manufactured. We source our raw materials as close to our home base as possible.This allows us to keep a smaller footprint on the planet. We can then ship locally. A majority of our client deliveries are within 100 KM of our Langley manufacturing facility.
Concrete is sustainable and resource efficient
Because of the flexibility of concrete in terms of production, it has the ability to be both a structural and decorative material. This reduces the number and quantity of various materials needed to finish a product or project. In our cemetery products, we see this in the manufacture of concrete crypts. The concrete is formed to create the burial boxes and then the process allows for shape, colour and other architectural options to be added. This can be applied to burial vaults, urns vaults, niche walls and columbariums. In other precast as well as ready-mix concrete various add mixes can be developed for different strengths and colours. Flatwork such as stairs or sidewalks and driveways can be stamped and textured with various patterns and designs.
Concrete can be recycled
Concrete’s inorganic composition makes it ideal for recycling. Fraserway PreKast makes an effort to recycle whenever we can. Crushed recycled concrete can be used as the dry aggregate for brand new concrete if it is free of contaminants.
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Cement is a fine grey powder and constitutes only 7 to 15% by weight of concrete’s total mass. Cement is the most energy intensive but the smallest constituent of concrete. Aggregates are most commonly sand and gravel, which require little processing and are locally available in most areas of the world. In the US, crushed stone is used as about 25% of the aggregate, and natural sand and gravel the remaining 75%.
The Portland cement industry was among the first to tackle the issue of climate change, and it has remained at the forefront of developing policies, improving the manufacturing process, and disseminating data to the public. Since 1975, the cement industry has reduced emissions by 33%. In 2000, the industry created a way to measure CO2 emissions, and by the year 2020, the industry plans to voluntarily reduce CO2 emissions by 10% below the 1990 baseline.