Building Green with Concrete

Concrete is one of the more environmentally friendly building materials and is ideal for LEED Certified building projects. Architects and builders are becoming more conscious of the cost-effectiveness and environmental and health benefits of green building. Many state and local municipalities are now requiring new government and school construction to be LEED certified and the movement in private construction is gaining in popularity as well.
Using concrete in your building project makes good environmental sense. The components of concrete are in abundant supply and their extraction takes less toll on the environment than other building materials. Quarries, the primary source of concrete aggregates, can be reclaimed for recreational, residential or commercial uses or can be restored to their natural state. Concrete is also "green" in that it is manufactured locally and produces no toxic runoff (unlike asphalt).
Hi-Grade Materials is experienced in working within LEED requirements and creating specially designed mixes suitable for green projects.
Building "Green"
Potential LEED points can be gained by using ready-mixed concrete in the following areas:
Stormwater management
Landscape paving
Minimizing energy use
Optimizing energy performance
Managing construction waste
Recycled content
Use of regional materials
Use of certified wood
Innovation in design
Site-wide VOC reduction
Reduction in the use of Portland cement
LEED Green Building Rating System
LEED Green Building promotes environmentally conscious buildings that improve outdoor and indoor building quality and reduces waste during the building process. Established in 1998, the LEED Green Building Rating System for New Construction (LEED-NC) is a voluntary national standard and was developed by members of the United States Green Building Committee (USGBC)
Concrete is a unique building material. It can easily incorporate recycled materials into the mix, most commonly fly ash (an industrial waste by-product of coal manufacturing), which would normally go into landfills. Using recycled materials usually provides a cost-savings for the customer. Concrete can also be recycled - as a high quality aggregate in another concrete mix!
Energy Efficiency
Concrete is energy efficient in its manufacture. The only concrete ingredient that requires intensive energy demand is the manufacture of cement. Concrete is energy efficient in its transportation, materials for mixes are readily available and locally obtainable and mixes are not transported great distances due to limited mixing time. Concrete offers significant energy savings when used in homes and commercial buildings; its thermal mass contributes to high R-factors and moderates temperature fluctuations by storing and releasing energy needed for heating and cooling. Highways paved with concrete reduce heavy truck fuel consumption. Concrete's reflectivity can lower lighting costs in parking lots by as much as 30% over other pavements. Concrete's light-colored surface reduces heat absorption, benefiting our lakes and streams with cooler storm water run-off.