Think outside the concrete box on Earth Day


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More and more builders are starting to think beyond traditional building methods as we re-envision how projects are conceived, designed and implemented. Just check out the headlines to discover scientists researching how cigarette butts deliver energy in bricks and sidewalks and developers rethinking chemicals and colors for more energy-efficient homes. There is also a growing interest in recycled glass, drywall, steel and renewable resources such as bamboo. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, companies pay less than an additional 2 percent on average for green building features. It is estimated that they recover up to seven times that initial outlay over the life of the building. More than ever, the concrete construction business is at the forefront as builders and contractors search for potential solutions that can lower costs, speed up construction, and improve quality and safety. As such, everything from 3D printing to self-repairing concrete is gaining momentum as new materials are needed to reduce carbon footprints and improve cost efficiency. Turning science fiction into reality driving much of this demand for new materials is Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings, which generate as much renewable energy as the building consumes in a year. Whether they contain solar panels, a wind turbine, or some other material, these buildings are designed to reduce the amount of energy required. As traditional materials and methods give way to the latest in materials, it will be interesting to see how the owners and general contractors adapt how projects are designed and built. Will the new projects be characterized by a mixture of the old and the new? Will everything old be recycled into new, greener building materials? With so much technological disruption occurring in the construction industry, contractors can expect to see these future green and renewable building materials play a bigger and bigger role in the coming years. Check out this chart to find out more. X


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