Is Precast Environmentally Friendly?

Author

Published

Adam Bombini

June 18th 2020

The construction industry is known for having a negative impact on the environment. The sector is responsible for significant energy usage, landfill waste, air and water pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats. It’s a key contributor to climate change as well.

As environmental issues become more pronounced and the world seeks to protect the environment, many in the construction industry have now committed to reducing their impact.

To do so, they’re using more environmentally friendly construction materials, processes, and systems.

As a result, many are turning to precast concrete, which is a green building material in the construction industry. Discover the many factors that make precast concrete environmentally friendly.

Durability

When building materials can stand the test of time, they’re considered more sustainable.

Concrete is a durable product that can last for 100 years or more. It’s resistant to water, termites, and fires. It doesn’t rot and it doesn’t rust over time, either. It can withstand the elements.

Further, precast concrete is meticulously mixed, moulded, and cured in a factory environment to ensure higher quality, greater strength, and greater longevity.

Because precast is so durable, it requires less maintenance and fewer repairs. That means you don’t have to dig underground and disrupt the land to make repairs to underground structures like manholes and catch basin inlets.

Easy Installation

Pouring and installing in situ concrete on site can lead to pollution and destruction of land.

Precast concrete, on the other hand, is delivered to the site ready to be installed.

Recyclable

Concrete is 100% recyclable, making it an excellent sustainable building material for construction. When it comes to precast concrete, in particular, you see even more eco-friendly processes, including recycled process water and recycled waste concrete. Recycled steel is often used in precast products as well.

Less Waste

Concrete that’s poured on site typically leads to more waste. You’ll face wasted remnants and spillage, as well as discarded wooden formwork. With precast concrete, much less waste is realized due to the precision of the manufacturing process. Less water is used, less concrete is used, and the durable steel moulds are used again and again.

Concrete Is a Natural Product

Concrete is made of all natural ingredients, including water, sand, and gravel. It’s a much more sustainable building material compared to the alternatives. For example, it’s better than plastic, which is made from fossil fuels that require deep-sea drilling. It’s better than steel, which requires the mining of iron ore and smelting. These processes lead to pollution, noxious fumes, and tremendous energy use. And while wood may come from trees, the timber industry is known for using gas chainsaws and gas-guzzling logging trucks, which pollute the environment.

Reduced Carbon Emissions in a Building

While some carbon is produced during the manufacturing process to make concrete, these emissions are offset by the energy efficiency of the building material. In fact, concrete reabsorbs up to 40 percent of the carbon over a structure’s lifetime and reduces heating and cooling costs substantially.

Better Indoor Air Quality

Using precast concrete in a building will improve the structure’s indoor air quality. Because of its high thermal mass, there’s minimal need for artificial cooling and heating of the building. The stability of the material also means it creates an indoor environment free of chemicals and fumes over its lifetime. And there’s no need to treat concrete with chemicals before installation or later on.

Healthier and Safer Construction Process

Because precast concrete products are created off-site in a factory environment, it’s healthier and safer for construction workers and nearby neighbours. It means there will be far less noise pollution on-site, as well as less dust being created.

If you’re looking to go green with your construction project, precast concrete is a top choice for sustainability.

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