Concrete’s Contribution to Carbon Emissions

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Concrete is the second-most widely consumed material on earth, behind only water. According to Concrete Construction: Practical Problems and Solutions, more than ten billion tons of concrete are produced each year. Such volumes require vast amounts of natural resources for aggregate and cement production. Concrete production is one of the world’s largest sources of carbon emissions – the production of cement, a key ingredient in concrete, accounts for about 8 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
 
To bring the cement industry in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, its annual emissions will need to fall by at least 16 percent by 2030. The world’s biggest cement makers are currently feeling pressure from environmental groups, regulators and lawmakers to meet this challenge and cut pollution.
 
Concrete is embedded into our everyday life: the roads we drive, the bridges we walk, the buildings we live in, etc. Concrete as a foundation to modern society presents a big problem, as it is driving climate change. This problem is only expected to accelerate as the population grows – and tackling this issue now is essential to aiding future generations.
 
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With global sustainability pushes, the construction industry is approaching a point where alternative materials will be more widely adopted. As world leaders look to cutting carbon emissions, it’s vital to also reduce the carbon footprint of the building industry. Worldwide use of cement and concrete is damaging our planet; but there are alternatives that have far less of an impact on the environment, including renewable materials such as hemp, mycelium, and wood.   
 
Insulated metal panels (IMPs) are another one of these green alternatives. They aid net zero energy and carbon-neutral efforts by producing an airtight, moisture-resistant, rigid, continuous-insulation envelope. IMPs offer high R-values and provide superior thermal performance and reduced energy costs. Ultimately, this results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and reduced energy costs.
 
To truly make a difference in the fight against CO2, we must incorporate sweeping changes in the design and build industry that move away from using concrete.