Concrete is an extremely versatile building material. It can be used in flooring, concrete foundations, steps, sidewalks, and even countertops. Its low cost, coupled with extreme durability and low maintenance, make it a staple of modern building techniques.
At the same time, green builders are concerned that it may not be as environmentally friendly a some other building materials. But if you are determined to get the benefits of concrete while also avoiding a big environmental toll, here are some ways to use concrete responsibly.
Look for Recycled Sources
Some companies that produce concrete are beginning to use recycled materials in the production of their concrete. Fly ash, a waste product of coal power plants, is one that is being used in very durable concrete productions. By buying from these manufacturers, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your building.
Choose Aerated Concrete
Aerated concrete is a specific type of concrete that is less dense than traditional mixed concrete. While the material is still very strong, it doesn't require as much material to create this form of concrete.
Calculate Concrete Needs Carefully
Also find a concrete contractor who is dedicated to not wasting material. They can calculate how much concrete you really need for concrete foundations and other structural elements, given the strength of modern concrete. In some cases, for example, digging a more shallow foundation than normal is one way to save on concrete material costs.
Your concrete needs also depend on how you plan to install concrete. To save material costs, have concrete mixed in small batches so that the material doesn't dry out before it is poured. Also avoid prefabricated concrete slabs that may be thicker than what your project actually requires. Make sure that your project is planned out carefully so that your concrete installation goes in as planned and you don't need to bring in more concrete on a different day.
Cut Down on Other Materials
You could also cut down on the rest of your materials to reduce the overall impact of your building. For example, concrete slabs act as a perfectly fine flooring base, especially if they are finished or carpeted; consider not adding additional wood or other flooring materials.
You can begin to see that there are plenty of ways to use concrete in your project without being wasteful. Find a concrete contractor who is committed to building responsibly, and they should be able to help you plan out ways to use concrete wisely in your project. For more information, talk to a professional like S&W Concrete.