CONCRETE INNOVATIONS CONTRIBUTE TO A BETTER ENVIRONMENT
Concrete is an important part of nearly every home built in the U.S. But above grade the true nature of concrete homes, of course, has always, been much more inviting, than eccentric domes, underground homes, or coldly modernistic glass and concrete behemoths. Now, in unprecedented numbers, the public at large is beginning to accept the idea of concrete homes, mainly because of the benefits provided by them: thermal efficiency, air-tightness (pollen doesnt get through concrete walls), better air quality, high winds and fire resistance, sound barrier, and low maintenance costs.
One of the main reasons concrete structures perform so much better than wood is that wood structures leak air and cant ever be completely sealed. Another factor is the problems wood frame construction has with mildew and termites.
Within Texas, the city of Lubbock is one the most active areas, especially in its use of ICF for affordable concrete housing. The HUD program is unique in that it is attempting to rid the city of substandard housing by buying poorly constructed homes, relocating the tenants to heavily subsidized housing, tearing down the shabby buildings, and rebuilding an all-concrete ICF home on the site.
With ICF building advances, the initial cost has decreased some, and the truth of life cycle cost savings in maintenance and operating expenses has played an important part in selling the benefits originated by a concrete home built with ICF systems.
Another contribution concrete offers to the environment is the development of Portland cement pervious concrete for paving parking lots, roads, even driveways on a residential area. The benefits as a water management system are tremendous: vegetation is watered, reducing the need for irrigation; ground water is recharged, utilizing free rain fall water; water resources are preserved; storm water runoff is reduced and its quality is improved, not overloading the sewer systems with polluted runoff water. Because of the 15 25% void content in porous pavements, water filtration system is improved, and the surface area is also designed to catch oils and chemicals pollutants.
The strength and durability of porous pavements appears to be equal to traditional materials. There are several examples of parking lots built more than ten years ago with porous concrete that are structurally sound and in use. The United States Dept. of Commerce has a written report about the properties of porous concrete issued March 18, 1943. Florida Concrete and Products Association has a great amount of sites where porous concrete was the product of choice for pavement construction.
Dare Concrete has filed a zoning amendment application with the Town of Nags Head to include Portland Cement pervious concrete as a compatible material for open face paving block in residential construction. The main objective of this zoning amendment is a tentative in our part to solve the ongoing problem of parking in new construction, lot coverage, rising prices on land value; and still benefit and preserve the environment providing savings for the Town water resources.