It seems to us that not many people think to ask the following question: Is precast concrete sustainable? That’s probably because concrete in general and precast concrete, in particular, aren’t necessarily high on most people’s list of green, environmentally friendly products.
But they are. From the natural materials, to product longevity, to reusability, precast concrete is sustainable from conception to installation — and beyond.
Is precast concrete sustainable? You bet! Let’s examine how — and the many ways — in which it contributes to our ongoing commitment to a better and greener future.
Addressing Scarcity and Durability
Materials that used to dominate the building industry — for example, wood and steel — are, in many parts of the world, becoming more scarce and more expensive to procure, process, and ship.
Of course, those materials are also less durable than concrete; wood rots and steel rusts. Concrete, on the other hand, does neither. It can last literally thousands of years, as evidenced by the existence of ancient concrete structures scattered throughout the world.
At Rogue Valley, we strive to remain locally sourced, using local materials for each of our products. In a blog piece on sustainable concrete, we wrote:
“The making of cement – a big component of concrete – itself can be a laborious process. Clinker makes most of Portland cement’s makeup. It is created by heating waste materials at very high levels, creating an ashy substance. In some specific applications, fly ash can be used as a replacement.”
Precast concrete won’t catch fire. It can withstand heating and cooling temperature extremes, And it has a high thermal mass, meaning lots of energy is required to alter its temperature.
And it’s nontoxic both in its form and in its production. The environmental impacts of precast products are limited by its sustainable design, its raw material makeup, and the energy-efficient processes used to produce it.
Precast concrete is resilient. No matter what form it takes — and it takes many forms — you can be sure that it will last for years. It’s customizable, worry-free, and virtually maintenance-free, as well.
And then there are other features that make concrete a sustainable building material. This includes the fact that precast concrete forms are relatively easy to install, reducing the need for carbon-belching machinery working overtime. Fewer machines means a less hefty carbon footprint.
In fact, precast concrete is sustainable because of its very nature. Consider precast concrete retaining walls. The forms are manufactured to precise specifications, customizable, and reusable. This reduces production times and the time spent performing onsite installations.
Many precast concrete products utilize embedded hardware, meaning they can be erected and/or installed with fewer crew members on site. This can save money as well as time Plus, fewer crew members means fewer transportation miles logged to and from the worksite.
For these reasons and more, Rogue Valley Precast is pleased to have earned SMaRT Certification. This honor is reflective of our continuing work to use green production methods.
We use raw and natural materials. We retain and reuse wastewater and other materials, when possible. And our facility runs on solar power.
We also choose to partner and contract with companies and vendors who pledge to do the work required to become green businesses. Finally, we work with local suppliers whenever possible so that we can limit delivery times and distances. Fewer vehicles on the road mean less congestion and fewer emissions.
SMaRT (Sustainable Materials Rating Technology) Certification means we have developed and implemented high standards for development and manufacturing our precast concrete products.
We’re proud to have been the first buried infrastructure facility in the United States to earn a SMaRT Certification. Our status as a Platinum Level manufacturer is rare for a producer of precast concrete products.
Have any questions? Get in touch with us today!