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04/04/2013

NIST: Making Greener Concrete

 
Is greener concrete on the way? A new study indicates that there could be significant benefits.

Hungry Horse Dam, on Montana's Flathead River, helped to pave the way for using fly ash in concrete. Completed in 1953, the dam was built with 120,000 metric tons of fly ash. It is one of the largest concrete-arch dams in the nation. Credit: Bureau of Reclamation

Is your facility ready for green concrete?  According to a new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the potential engineering performance, energy-efficiency and environmental benefits make greening concrete a challenge worth tackling.

Many factors determine the overall energy and environmental impact of concrete. However, reducing the amount of portland cement, which reacts with water to bind all the sand, stone and the other constituents of concrete as it hardens, provides the biggest opportunity. Depending on the particular concrete formulation that is used, portland cement accounts for approximately one-quarter of the total mass, and it is the product of a very energy-intensive process.

Nearly a kilogram of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, is produced for each kilogram of concrete that is constructed. Portland cement manufacturing accounts for more than 5 percent of U.S. industrial carbon-dioxide emissions, according to the report. In addition, the U.S. cement industry consumes 400 gigajoules of energy annually. That's equivalent to the energy required to power more than 3 million homes each year.

The output of a workshop of experts drawn from industry, academia, and state and federal government, the report identifies barriers to acceptance and use of concrete in which greater fractions (30 percent or more) of the portland cement have been replaced by fly ash from electrical power plants and other industrial byproduct materials. The measurement science barriers are identified, along with high-priority topics for research.

Before broad acceptance of green concrete can occur, the report says, "overly-restrictive prescriptive-specifications need to be overcome, and the performance of green concretes must be demonstrated to be either equivalent (to concrete using portland cement) or sufficient for the intended application, which may require performance beyond that of portland cement concrete."

Consensus high-priority research topics identified by the experts include:

  • Developing tools and metrics for quantifying the advantages and disadvantages of using different materials in concrete.
  • Developing and validating computer models that can predict the performance of green concrete mixtures, both during construction and over the long term.
  • Improving test methods for characterizing materials such as fly ash, glasses, and minerals and other portland cement substitutes to determine whether they will perform as required.
  • Developing a more complete understanding of the water-driven chemical interactions that occur as industrial byproduct materials and other components are incorporated into concrete.

The report also highlights the importance of stakeholder education to increase industry awareness and understanding of the performance and capabilities of alternative concrete mixtures.

Meeting the challenges identified at the experts workshop will require new "measurement science" the report says, "for quantifying and ensuring the short-and long-term performance of green concrete."

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
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Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
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