Much has been written and spoken about climate change, but what is it? "Climate change" is when measurements of certain indcators of climate show significant change over an extended period of time. Evidence exists that shows the Earth has experienced climate change several times in its history. However, even though natural factors can influence climate changes, we are now experiencing unprecedented changes that can be attributed to human activities.
Activities, such as burning coal and oil and the destruction of forest areas, have caused an accumulation of what are called “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. These gases prevent heat from escaping to space, acting somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse. The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon which allows the Earth to be warm enough to support life. Without the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of the Earth would be about the temperature at the North Pole. But it is a delicate balancetoo many greenhouse gases means too much heat is trapped and the average global temperature rises.
According to the most imformed and reputable sources imaginable (the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nationas Interfovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Union of Concerned Scientists), most of the warming in recent decades is almost certainly the result of human activities. Small changes in global average temperature are indicators of large changes in temperature patterns. In turn, these altered temperature patterns result in weather-related conditions that cause large scale insecurities to human society, such as heightened and extended storm seasons, drought, decreasing snow packs and rising sea level. If greenhouse gases continue to increase, climate models predict that the average temperature at the Earth's surface could increase from 3.2 to 7.2º F above 1990 levels by the end of this century. This is widely considered well beyond the safety threshold and that temperature rises on this order will result in catastrophic changes. In fact, Earth's ecosystems are already experiencing irreversible changes attributed to global warming.
Climate change and concrete
Concrete is said to be the most widely used substance on Earth after water. Among its many positive traits are its high strength, long life cycle, high durability, high thermal mass and low cost. Traditional concrete is made of sand, gravel, water and cement. Cement is a critical binder in concrete, yet its manufacture makes it one of the most environmentally damaging ingredients found in any building material.
The fundamental problem with cement is the chemical reaction needed to create it. The cement manufacturing process involves the heating and decomposition of limestone (CaCO3 + heat = CaO + CO2) and this, along with emissions from the energy demand releases about 0.9 tons of carbon dioxide for every ton of cement produced. (0.53 tons are due to the chemical reaction). Cement production accounts for around 7% of all manmade carbon dioxide emissions.
Climate change and Clean Concrete Technologies
Our team of engineers and researchers are dedicated to creating a superior product that directly addresses climate change without sacrificing structural integrity, workability or cost. By dramatically reducing the quantity of cement in our concrete formulas, we minimize the CO2 emissions associated with the binder portion of our concrete a reduction of up to 50% compared to conventional concrete. Additionally, we lower the environmental impact of concrete by using 100% recycled aggregateswhich has an added benefit of keeping usable concrete rubble out of landfills and conserving valuable virgin aggregate resources and avoiding the habitat destruction associated with aggregate extraction.