Sustainable architecture and concrete are not always considered compatible. After all, the production of concrete is known as the cause for at least 8% of the world’s carbon emissions. It’s why many concrete producers nowadays are creating their own low-carbon concrete mixes. And it’s also why some architects are hesitant about their use of concrete.
That is especially the case now as the effects of climate change advance. With this progression, people are seeing an increase in severe storms and heat waves. They’re also seeing a significant rise in temperature in the Arctic. It’s warming up two-and-a-half times faster than any other region on the planet. To better visualize this, consider that the New York Times has noted the average air temperatures in 2019 for the world were around 3.5°F (1.9°C) higher than the average temperatures found from 1981–2010. Because of this, the Arctic’s ice is melting away, leaving behind more ocean to absorb sunlight and radiate more heat. All of which heats up the rest of the planet that much more.
In response to this, many architects have felt a stronger need to incorporate sustainability into their work. For instance, a number of architects have chosen to solely work with clients who are aiming to build to net-zero energy standards. Though, not all such sustainability efforts have been this recent in the world of architects. The American Institute of Architects itself has had a commitment to sustainability for as long as 1971. And architects have only been increasing their focus on this commitment to sustainable architecture ever since.
With their concerns over the state of the climate, architects have become a little wary about using concrete. However, concrete remains an incredibly common building material. And there’s good reason for that. Whatever you think of it personally, concrete has much to offer sustainable architecture!
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