Astonia Classic in Undri

Kishor Pate
As a highly sustainable building material, concrete has some excellent attributes which make it very important in today’s context, writes Kishor Pate, CMD, Amit Enterprises Housing.

With the term ‘concrete jungle’ having become so popular and widely used, it is easy to overlook that this building material has been around for so long and for very good reasons. Concrete is easy to produce and use, but the fact is that concrete is an eminently environmentally friendly building material during the entire span of its life cycle, beginning from its production as a raw material right until it is demolished. This renders it the perfect and obvious building option for the construction of sustainable homes.

The cement utilized in concrete is sourced from limestone, which is an abundantly available mineral that will literally never deplete. However, one can also manufacture concrete from materials such as slag cement and fly ash, both of which are generated by industries like steel mills and power plants as waste by-products. From the point of recycling of existing resources, concrete is therefore a real boon to the planet.

Concrete is also highly durable, and is used in erecting buildings which are not subject to rust, do not burn or otherwise degrade. In fact, buildings built with concrete have twice or even thrice the lifespan of buildings erected with many other construction materials. The lifespan of concrete building products can be double or triple than that of other common building materials.

What is equally important from a sustainability perspective is that the use of concrete in forming the foundation, floors and walls of a building, renders it extremely energy-efficient. One of the benefits of this building material is its ability to absorb and retain heat. In other words, people who live in homes built of concrete save significantly on both cooling and heating bills. In a concrete building, one can install air conditioners of lower capacity, resulting in significant electricity savings.

Also, concrete reduces the incidence of processes that result in urban heat islands. When concrete, which is inherently light in colour, is used to build pavements and roofs, the end result is that less heat is absorbed and more in-coming solar radiation is deflected.

Concrete as a building material results in the least waste of raw building materials, as it can be manufactured and used in the actual quantities required. Once a building or structure built of concrete has completed its life cycle, or fulfilled the purpose for which it was erected, the concrete can be recycled into aggregate, which can then be used to lay concrete pavements or provide an underlying base for roads.