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Concrete’s impact on the environment starts when limestone is blasted in quarries to make cement – the binder, or substance that sets and hardens it into a useful building material.
Once limestone has been blasted and mined it is then transported to a cement plant, where the fuels used by the plant and machinery produce CO2 emissions. Concrete producers also say that as concrete ages, it carbonates and reabsorbs all the CO2 released during calcination – but this process takes hundreds of years.The general consensus is that cement manufacturing produces about 5% of global CO2 emissions generated by human activity, and 3% of global emissions of all greenhouse gases.
The problem stems from volume: According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, concrete is the most widely used substance on Earth apart from water.
A building with exterior concrete walls can also be energy-efficient, especially in climates that have daily temperature fluctuations. A Locally-Sourced Material: Another reason concrete is so popular is because the raw materials to make it are prevalent in most of the world.
Some progress has been made in reducing the amount of emissions in the concrete manufacturing process. The reality is that even if new technology truly achieves a carbon-negative manufacturing process, greener cements (like ones requiring complex facilities to shoot emissions through seawater) won’t be as affordable or accessible in the developing parts of the world that are consuming concrete most voraciously. Please note that gratuitous links to your site are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. Many buildings currently being built out of cast concrete could be built much more cheaply and far more sustainably using rammed earth, a solid , breathable material with a long and durable history ( such as the older sections of the Great Wall of China). Calera corporation's claims to have "invented a green process with net negative carbon footprint" have been widely debunked now. Are manufacturers trying to improve its processes and making progress to use more recycle materials and other advances to make it even better?
Until our tiny little planet loses it vital need to shelter people, transport goods and services over rivers, streams, and harsh terrains, and provide the economic means to sustain societies, we should remember to APPRECIATE concrete and the amazing green nature of our planet's finest material. Just remember, CEMENT only makes up approximately 15-17% of a CONCRETE structure, and according to the UK concrete industry sustainability report, the embodied CO2 associated with the production and transport of an average tonne of concrete is 95 kg. The article is basically sound until they get to the part concerning how much concrete is made worldwide.
Don't forget about the hundreds of admixtures possible with concrete, including the ones from recycled sources such as fly ash.
And like billolive said, we must think about what alternatives there are to concrete as well.
After visiting Malaysia where a lot of limestone is collected for use in concrete, it makes me cringe inside when I see concrete being used.
I can see the need in our modern lives for such a material, but honestly, it puts it into perspective whenever I see it being used anymore.
By breaking a piece of concrete from the main area and spraying the underlying surface immediately.
The hole must be flushed out with de-ionised water immediately after the drilling to avoid contamination; this is then followed straight after with a spray of phenolphthalein. Depth of carbonation will be found to vary on different parts of a concrete structure.  Normally it will be less on areas exposed to heavy rain than on external but sheltered faces. Concrete Carbonation is the process whereby carbon dioxide (in moist air) reacts with the lime and other alkaline materials in the concrete and creates calcium carbonate. This is the most common cause for loss of alkalinity in concrete, which is important as a high level of alkalinity is required to prevent corrosion of the re-inforced steel inside the concrete.
It proceeds from the outer surface towards the inside of the concrete but the rate of penetration depends on a number of factors. The rate of penetration slows down naturally as the carbonation proceeds deeper into the concrete.
It has been found that the depth of carbonation is approximately proportional to the square root of the time. As compared to light constructions, a brick house will store the heat and radiate it slowly during the night. A brick house will also have a better sound insulation, as compared to timber frame constructions. Building a brick house by yourself is impossible in most of the cases, as the amount on work needed is over your physical capacity.
Smart tip: Building a house with bricks and concrete has many advantages over the timber frame system. Work with great care and with good judgement, as to get the job done in a professional manner. If you cannot handle these procedures by yourself, you should hire a qualified team of builders. The Pvc windows come in a large variety of shapes, colors and designs, so that you can choose the one which fit your needs and tastes best. Smart tip: From our experience, we recommend you to mark the location of the electric cables and pipes in a notebook, to avoid accidents when driving in screws to the walls (hanging a picture or a cabinet).
Step 20: After you have applied the texture paint on the polystyrene insulation, you should dissemble the scaffolding and continue the work by installing the front door and the interior doors.
Remember that a brick house has many advantages as compared to light constructions, but you have to put a lot of effort in order to obtain a great result.
If you can afford, we recommend you to pour a thin layer of self leveling screed to make the floor perfectly horizontal. Thank you for reading our article on how to build a brick house and we recommend you to check out the rest of our project. In general terms, the word cement refers to any kind of binder that tightly holds other materials together. Given that concrete starts out as a semi-liquid, has great weather proof properties, and high strength, its applications for use in construction are almost endless. On March 21, 2011 Ed Byrne broke 55 concrete blocks with his bare hands in 4.86 seconds, setting a new world record.
To prepare for the reservoir to be created by the dam, the Chinese Government had to displace 1.24 million residents.
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Building a concrete block wall is one of the more involved building projects that requires careful planning and a little heavy lifting, but easy to accomplish with the help of the masonry professionals at Gergs Construction.
Its durable nature and versatile applications have made its usage ubiquitous throughout our cities.
Cement accounts for 7 to 15% of concrete’s total mass by weight and is made by superheating (in coal-fired kilns) a mixture of limestone and clay and then grinding the resulting substance into a powder.
Next the limestone, or calcium carbonate, releases CO2 when it is heated to make the cement.


By comparison the transport sector is responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so concrete has a pretty hefty share of the pie considering it’s just one material. Global cement output may reach 5 billion metric tons by 2030 due mainly to growth in China and India, according to a December report by the global conservation organization WWF. Even though concrete provides little insulation, it creates thermal mass that can store warmth or cold, reducing indoor temperature fluctuation. For the eco-conscious builder, this means it can be locally-sourced, reducing CO2 emissions from transportation. The English company Novacem says it has created a cement (patent pending) that uses magnesium silicates, which do not emit CO2 during combustion. Significant CO2 reductions won’t be possible without heavily subsidizing the industry in poor countries. A combination of new technology and efforts to decrease energy used in manufacturing is needed so that perhaps tomorrow’s concrete can be.
With regards to the durability of concrete, little of what is built today with concrete will be usable in 100 years. In most cases where concrete is used, structural steel is the only viable alternative and it requires much more energy to produce. One edge it can enhance human life quality but another side it tend to destroy natural environment.
Beautiful natural limestone hills, with trees growing all over them and around are cut down so that they can get all the limestone out of them. It is essential to test all elevations and situations on a concrete building surface in order to correlate a range of results and thereafter take the appropriate action.
Surface blemishes such as blow holes, honey-combing or cracking will enable carbonation to proceed at a greater rate than on smooth concrete. This prevents penetration of the carbon dioxide – it would be difficult to have concrete carbonation in fully immersed concrete.
Building a brick house has many advantages as compared to timber frame homes, as it is more resistant to fire, floods and storms. Therefore, due to its unique features a brick house will be easier to maintain and you will spend less money on the heating bills. The concrete floors and the brick walls just stop the sounds better than drywall partitions do.
Nevertheless, you can decrease the labor costs if you carry out some task by yourself, such as supervising the workers and making sure the construction process goes smoothly.
A brick house needs a sturdy foundation, therefore you have to dig deep trenches and install a rigid structure of reinforcing bars. If you want to keep costs as low as possible, you could mix the concrete by yourself with a power mixer. Nevertheless, you should leave it for about one week and then you can build the brick walls. In this manner, the concrete stairs will bond to the ceiling and increase the rigidity of your house. Use a spirit level to make sure the walls are perfectly plumb and a tape measure to check if the measurements are accurate. As you can see in the image, you need to install a dense net of rebars and beams over the walls. Next, you have to fasten wooden boards to the beams, making sure they are in great condition (they should not be cracked, curved or chipped). From our experience, we can assert that building a brick house is not an easy job especially if you don’t have any expertise in the field. Each of these approaches has its own advantages and disadvantages (the metal shingles are more durable), but you should choose the one which fits you needs and budget. If you don’t like their aspect, you could install pricier windows, with a more exquisite look. Create grooves in the brick walls and fit the electric cables and the water pipes inside them. Use a power mixer to prepare cement render and cover the walls till you obtain a nice finish.
The installation of polystyrene sheets will improve the thermal insulation of your house, while keeping costs under control. Therefore, you have to use the right mix of concrete for each job, follow the plans and take accurate measurements.
Screeding a floor is not difficult if you use a straight edge and a large level, to make sure the floor is perfectly horizontal.
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Concrete, on the other hand, is a mixture of materials like sand, gravel, and small rocks combined with any type of cement and water.
No one knows for sure who first came up with the idea to use a cement substance to bind materials together to make concrete, bricks, and other building materials.
Hydraulic cement refers to any cement that uses water to begin a chemical reaction that hardens the mixture and, when fully formed, creates a water resistant product.
Aggregates make up approximately 60-75% of the mixture and cement and water make up the rest. The benefits of concrete include its durability, fire-resistance, low maintenance, energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. However this primary building material is also extremely energy intensive to make and transport, and produces a significant amount of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. When this power mixes with water, it forms strong calcium-silicate-hydrate bonds that can bind other particulates, like sand or gravel, to make concrete. Forty percent of CO2 emissions from the cement plant come from the combustion process and Sixty Percent of CO2 emissions come from the calcination process, according to the Cement Sustainability Initiative report produced by members of the concrete industry. Concrete pieces from demolished structures can also be reused to protect shorelines, for example in gabion walls or as rip rap.” Used concrete can also be reused as the aggregates in new concrete. Its production process also runs at lower temperatures and the cement absorbs far more CO2 as it hardens – enough to more than offset the amount generated during manufacturing. Roman concrete is a very different material and does not exemplify the durability of modern concrete. Most concrete products manufacturers pick their cement supplier based on their sustainability initiatives. Fly ash is a byproduct of coal power plants that can be used to replace significant portions of the portland cement.
In addition, the brick houses have a better thermal efficiency as the large bricks store the heat and then radiate it slowly into the rooms during the cold winter nights.


In addition, if you choose to insulate the walls with polystyrene sheets, you will increase the thermal efficiency of your bricks house.
Although building brick partitions might be more expensive and time consuming as compared to timber frames, it pays off the investment if you like privacy. Before building the concrete foundation, you have to thoroughly prepare the site, by cleaning the plant material. We recommend you to read as much as possible about building a brick house before starting the project, as you will avoid many costly mistakes. This aspects might look minor, but we can assure you they make the difference on the long run. Consult a qualified structural engineer to determine the depth of the footings (according to the soil structure) and the needed amount of rebars. Nevertheless, it will take longer and the concrete wouldn’t have the same quality as the one from your local company (they add special additives to enhance the concrete rigidity). After you have lain six rows of bricks, you should use metal ties to secure the wall to the pillars.
If you can afford, we recommend you to rent adjustable metal posts, as they will secure the ceiling formwork better. Use the right mix of concrete for every job, otherwise the foundation and the ceiling might crack over time. In addition, we recommend you to place a plastic foil under the reinforcing structure, otherwise the concrete juice would leak through the gaps between the wooden boards. Take accurate measurements and follow the plans, otherwise you would spend a great amount of money to fix the issues. From our experience, we recommend you to install Pvc windows, as they are very durable, easy to maintain and insulate your house properly. There are cases in which you could apply the plaster directly over the brick walls, but in most of the cases it is advisable to cement render the walls first. If you use quality and efficient bricks, there are situations in which you don’t have to add the insulation layer, but in most of the cases the polystyrene sheets will decrease the heating costs during winter by 30-50%.
In most of the cases, the layer of screed should be around 2”, as to cover the irregularities and the cables, but you can adjust it to fit your needs.
The process can be traced back to Ancient Macedonia, but was more widely popularized during the Roman Empire.
This reaction is independent of the water content of the mixture so allows for the material to harden even underwater. Aggregates are usually inert course materials like gravel, crushed stone, sand, or recycled concrete. The previous record was held by the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State, at 9 million cubic meters of concrete, which is enough to build a 8 foot wide sidewalk around the equator of the Earth. The report also says that since calcination is intrinsic to the process, they must focus on reducing energy use associated with the manufacture of concrete. LEED also awards points if you build concrete walls and a concrete ceiling with no coating. Concrete’s recyclability is limited because its chemical properties change over time and with each processing. A California-based company, Calera, claims it has discovered a cement-manufacturing process with a negative carbon footprint. A huge number of roads and bridges in there US built in the 50s from concrete are now getting to a stage of being unsafe thanks to the degradation of the material. Every major cement producer in the world is working as hard as possible to reduce their carbon emissions.
It is also important to consider the vast amounts of steel reinforcement that go into concrete structures. I, personally appreciate all the company effort to decrease the negative effect of natural sources exploration and the streamline of building material production. Adding double glaze windows and a proper preparation for the cold season will further enhance your house insulation and decrease the heating costs. If the ground water is very close to the surface of the site, you should install a drainage system, otherwise the concrete foundation will be damaged by the moist soil.
In addition, it is easier to maintain a brick house as it doesn’t rotten nor it is affected by termites, as in the case of a wooden house. This process is time consuming, but if you understand the basic techniques, you will get the job done in a professional manner. Use a spirit level to make sure the walls are perfectly plumb.
Basically, concrete is the stone-like structure formed after cement and other materials are mixed together.
Calera’s technique, remniscent of how some corals produce reefs, is to filter carbon dioxide emissions through seawater to create a chalky carbonate byproduct. The fact is, concrete structures use fly ash to reduce cement volume, and the fly ash would normally be landfilled if not used for this purpose. Alternative reinforcing materials and details can help decrease the steel tonnage on a job and make the material more "green". In terms of costs, nowadays building a brick house is very close to the construction of a timber frame home. The only thing which requires your attention is to freshen up the look of your house by applying new a coat of paint every 3-5 years. If you use the right techniques, the exterior finish will resist for many years, just make sure you use quality materials. The Romans were able to produce massive structures like the Pantheon and the Roman aqueducts using this formula.
This durability means that a building can preserve its concrete foundation or concrete exterior while replacing less durable parts like windows, insulation and plumbing (you get a point from LEED if you reuse a building).
This cement substance is then mixed with aggregate and water to create concrete, sequestering carbon emissions and avoiding the need to heat the ingredients, the company says. Also, most concrete mixes use less than 1% admixtures- most if not all of which are completely contained in the concrete and won't leech out into the soil if buried. If you build your brick house correctly, you will enjoy its conform for many years, as it will resist against windstorms and earthquakes.
While this type is much cheaper than hydraulic cement, the problems of long drying times, combined with the inability to use it in wet environments makes it a poor choice in most applications. The rest of the concrete structure is sand and stone, and again, most major concrete products manufacturers are or should be picking their aggregate and sand suppliers based on the suppliers' committment to rehabilitating the quarry once it is no longer useful.



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