Cement Suppliers and the Need to ‘Go Green’
The cement industry thrived this past year and is expected to continue to succeed moving forward. According to a study published by Science Direct, the global production of cement reaches about 2.8 billion tons each year and is expected to reach about four billion tons in the upcoming years. Cement remains a key component for building homes on a global level and for creating modern infrastructures, but with recent stories of bridges collapsing across the world, cement may have played a role in structures failing, according to a recent AZO Materials article. Moving forward, cement suppliers may have to be more conscious of what goes into their cement from sustainable and safety angles as builders are beginning to take note of the possible dangers in the current cement industry.
The concept of sustainable cement has been circling the construction industry, going as far back as 15 years ago with the creation of the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI). CSI has been learning more about the dangers of cement production, and the organization has found cement that is not sustainably produced can lead to excess fuel use, climate change, dangers to employee health and faulty structures in general, according to AZO Materials.
"Green materials and techniques are no longer a novelty—they are practically ubiquitous, present in every stage of design, construction, operation and maintenance," an article from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) said. "Big business is embracing green building, governmental bodies are rewarding sustainable efforts, and individuals across the globe are making everyday decisions about materials and methods that will impact generations to come."
As the demand for cement rises year to year, so does the risk of producing cement without an ecological plan. Concrete—which is often held together in structures by cement—has been proven to have the longest lifespan of any building material, creating structures that can sometimes survive as long as 2,000 years; this is likely why the demand for concrete and, subsequently, cement remains high. While the need for cement is great, it can be easy to fall into the same pattern of producing cement the same way for decades.
Moving forward, builders will likely become warier of how cement suppliers produce their materials, basing their purchases and willingness to pay accordingly. In a recent Construction Dive article, it said some concrete suppliers are even toying with ways to eliminate cement entirely in order to cut down on CO2 emissions.
Sustainable construction and "going green" remains on the minds of builders and even local governments, offering incentive to builders who work with green materials. If suppliers refuse to adjust, sales and credit may begin to suffer.
"Communities across the United States continue to adopt programs for sustainable development. Durable construction can be an important component of such programs," the PCA article said. "The durability and fire resistance of non-combustible concrete and masonry construction are qualities that can help communities satisfy their desire to become more sustainable."
—Christie Citranglo, editorial associate