Is Concrete a Sustainable Material?

Are you a values-driven entrepreneur?

Values attract customers and top talent, while reinforcing company culture. Data also shows that millennial and Gen-Z consumers flock to socially-conscious brands, especially eco-friendly companies.

Eco-friendly values permeate though several industry sectors, including fashion, landscaping, energy, packaging, and food. However, one sustainable sector often overlooked is the flooring industry.

Sustainable flooring is a good investment for values-driven businesses like vegan restaurants, eco-design firms, home builders, and green landscapers. While sustainable wood and tile are available, concrete is also a viable option.

How sustainable is concrete, and is it the same as cement?

Keep reading to find out!

Concrete vs. Cement (Which One Is Sustainable?)

Most people use the words “cement” and “concrete” interchangeably; though related, these terms are not the same.

Cement is an ingredient found in concrete, but concrete is not cement. Cement is a binder, so you can’t use it on its own. Plus, there are sustainable forms of concrete, whereas cement is just a mixture of lime and silica.

Concrete also hardens as it ages, proving its sustainability over time. If you want to be sure a concrete formula is sustainable, ask about the LEED seal of approval, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED rates and certifies the use of green building materials.

Here are a few sustainable concrete choices to consider:

Traditional Concrete

Traditional polished concrete on its own is quite sustainable. It doesn’t require carpeting or any other flooring. With the right maintenance, a concrete floor could last for decades.

This flooring type is perfect for lobbies, indoor and outdoor courtyards, walkways, offices, meeting rooms, modern boutiques, and more commercial spaces. You can also install decorative concrete to give your flooring an extra kick.

It’s important to point out that asphalt is not concrete nor a sustainable option, either; learn more about concrete vs asphalt to ensure you’re making the most eco-friendly choice.

Green Concrete

Green concrete is an excellent option for first-time sustainable flooring buyers.

This concrete product is composed of reused materials. It emits less carbon dioxide during manufacture than traditional concrete. It’s also more affordable than other sustainable choices, like cork flooring.

Green concrete contains less cement than traditional concrete, and cement only makes up 15% of concrete, at most. Some green cement products have replaced up to 80% of the cement, like blast furnace slag.

Another green concrete solution is fly ash concrete.

This flooring is made from a material called “fly ash,” a sustainable byproduct of coal. While fly ash only replaces 25% of cement, that’s still a significant decrease in Co2 emissions.

Fly ash concrete is harder than traditional concrete, so it’s not as prone to shrinking. Though newer than regular concrete, this flooring type is likely to last for years, as well.

Discover the Best Sustainable Solution

Green values are central to your brand. Make sure everything reflects your philosophy, including your concrete flooring.

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