Concrete alternatives for sustainable construction

Concrete alternatives for sustainable construction

Concrete alternatives for sustainable construction

Concrete is, without any doubt, the most popular building asset and it has been this way for several decades now. We also know that the construction industry is responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions worldwide, and it’s safe to say that a big amount of these emissions is related to the production and use of concrete. The elaboration of concrete contributes around a fifth part of the carbon footprint related to construction due to the energy and emissions that are involved in each step of the process. It also requires an impressive amount of water, which equals around a fifth part of the global industrial water consumption. With the nonstop building activities around the world, this has become a major issue that must be addressed. Here are some of the most valuable and useful concrete alternatives for sustainable construction.


This concrete alternative merges different materials like ash and clay in a process that requires much less energy than traditional concrete. Even though it is not a universal material, and its compatibility must be analyzed according to each specific project’s needs, the geopolymer concrete has increased its popularity, and we can expect it to continue doing so from now on.


Using the ash that is produced through the burning coal has a double benefit: it reduces the pollution that comes from this material and it can be used for the production of this versatile asset for construction. As part of many efforts that are being made worldwide for the reduction of carbon emissions, a group of researchers from the Washington State University developed a process for the incorporation of fly ash into concrete. This material is still to be perfected, but it opens an interesting area of opportunity for repurposed materials.


This cement is made from water, minerals and air, and it has proven to be more sustainable than traditional concrete. It is also a quite durable option, which is perfect for longevous buildings. It is already being used in major projects throughout the world, earning the trust of important engineers and architects.

Besides these alternatives, there must be a radical shift in the way the industry acts and plans. We must not only mitigate the effects of out buildings: it’s also important to search for ways in which we can fully appreciate and use what has already been built. There’s still a long way to go from now on, but we can surely feel hopeful thanks to these advances.

What do you think of these materials? Have you had the chance to work with any of them? Please share your insight with us! Your opinion is very important in this conversation.

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