Concrete is the most widely used construction material on earth. In fact, concrete and masonry have the longest lifespan of any traditional building materials, and were used to create structures that still remain standing after more than 2,000 years. Adaptive reuse is also common for masonry buildings that have outlived their original use. Century old manufacturing facilities are turned into garden-loft condos; old factories are now home to modern office complexes. The building’s masonry structure endures and is used again for other purposes. As a result, concrete products are a vital component in high-strength, long-lasting sustainable construction.
When constructing new structures, concrete products often use recycled materials. This keeps waste products from landfills and conserves precious natural resources. In turn, if masonry buildings ever do need to be torn down, the concrete materials are 100 percent recyclable and can be reused as base materials for roads or incorporated into making other new concrete products.
Concrete’s other green advantages are that it improves indoor air quality by reducing the potential for mold growth. It has superior fire resistance, which sustains property and life safety. And it has a greater life cycle and reduced environmental impact over other building materials. Concrete won’t burn, rust, peel or rot. This means minimal labor and maintenance concerns for the building owner.
As a leader in the production of concrete products, County Materials looks at ways we can improve our manufacturing efficiencies and further sustainability with our products.
We deal with a lot of cement, and cement is considered by many to be a high-energy product. However, County Materials is conscientiously replacing a large percentage of it with recycled materials, including fly ash. Fly ash is the leftover fine particle ash that results from burning coal in electric utility plants. Instead of land filling this substance, County Materials utilizes this recycled material to replace cement in our concrete products. All other raw materials that make up the bulk of our concrete products are considered low energy. These materials are extracted locally, with low processing and shipping costs.
As a result, County Materials’ concrete products are environmentally friendly and contribute toward LEED credits through Recycled Content and Regional Materials categories. If you are concerned about conserving the environment and building long-lasting structures, you can feel good about using County Materials’ concrete products.
If you drive across town or even through the Midwest, you might not realize that County Materials’ concrete products serve as integral components for many growing communities. Besides its use in buildings, concrete is used in bridge girders and overpasses and the transportation systems that tie our communities together. Precast box culverts, pipe and other water management products ensure a reliable infrastructure for housing and commercial developments. Permeable pavers manage storm water; concrete retaining walls protect sloping ground from erosion and increase buildable land space. Buildings and homes of all sizes and styles also benefit from the economic and environmental advantages afforded by concrete block, brick and thin veneers. These are just a few of the reasons why County Materials’ concrete products are used with confidence for sustainable design and construction applications every day.