Concrete. It just makes cents.

Posted on February 22, 2024

Understanding Whole Life Carbon in the Concrete Industry

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Proficient carbon calculations are increasingly important as “Buy Clean” legislation proliferates. New York and Colorado are among the states that now require carbon calcs for public projects. An estimated 40% of emissions are from the built environment. According to one estimate, the planet’s total building floor area will double by 2060. This makes the concrete industry a key player in the quest for net-zero emissions products and projects.

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Posted on February 15, 2024

California: Coal-fired Cement Plants to Net Zero by 2045

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) notes that cement production is “so carbon intensive that even though cement makes up less than 15% of concrete by weight, it accounts for 90% of concrete’s carbon footprint.” The use of fossil fuels to fire cement kilns is a key source of these carbon emissions.

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Posted on February 08, 2024

Toward Net Zero Concrete: Global Initiatives

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In the quest for reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, everyone has a role to play. In the concrete industry, this includes everyone from manufacturers to contractors, and from trade associations to governments. Here is a review of some of the major initiatives impacting concrete’s sustainability.

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Posted on February 01, 2024

Graphene-Infused Metakaolin for Stronger Concrete

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Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) requires high-temperature calcination of limestone. It is possible to use various emissions-reducing pozzolans in concrete. Fly ash comes from coal-fired power plants. Ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) comes from steel mills. Another SCM is metakaolin derived from kaolin.

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Posted on December 08, 2023

Reducing Kiln Emissions with Plasma Torches and More

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Cement kilns are a two-pronged source of carbon emissions. Traditionally, fossil fuels heat cement kilns to the required temperatures. In turn, this heat breaks down limestone and other carbonate-rich materials, releasing carbon dioxide in the process. To monitor the process, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires cement plants to comply with its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP).

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Posted on December 01, 2023

Portland Limestone Cement: Rapid Adoption

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Concrete is everywhere. By mass, it represents more than half of all manmade materials produced annually. Unfortunately, the Portland cement used as a binder is emissions-intensive. Global cement production totalled 4.1 billion metric tons in 2022. Just over half of that came from one country - China. On average, U.S. clinker production is responsible for about 842 kg of CO2 per ton of Portland cement produced.

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Posted on October 26, 2023

ICF Homes: Separating Myth From Fact

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Insulated concrete form (ICF) construction has been around for decades. Despite this, lack of familiarity sustains myths in some quarters. Nonetheless, ICF construction continues to expand. According to Global Market Insights, the ICF market will expand at a robust 6.4% CAGR through 2032. They project that North America will command 43% of that.

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Posted on October 19, 2023

3D Printed Concrete Market: $1 Billion Projected by 2030

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There are literally thousands of materials used in 3D printing. They also come in various forms: filaments, pellets, powders. resins, wires, pastes and gels. But, what if grout or a high-performance concrete mix poured forth from the nozzle? Well, it already is! 3D printed concrete (3DPC) is already making its presence felt. In fact, some analysts think it will become a billion-dollar industry by 2030.

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Posted on September 21, 2023

Case Studies in Low-Carbon Ready Mix Concrete

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Concrete is a superior construction material in myriad applications. Its prodigious durability, strength, versatility, and modest cost make it the material of choice for dams, roads, bridges, skyscrapers, water systems, and much more.

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Posted on August 03, 2023

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Buildings: How Tall?

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The use of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) continues to expand around the world. Mordor Intelligence sees global residential ICF revenue expanding at a 4.91% CAGR through 2028. During the same period, the firm projects commercial ICF revenue increasing at a CAGR of 4.72%. Institutional revenue should expand at a 4.43% CAGR.

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Posted on June 22, 2023

The Housing Market & Other Factors Impact Cement Demand

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What are the prospects for global cement demand in the near term? Following a post-Covid surge, emerging trends conspire to reduce cement demand. Limited residential real estate sales and construction is a key. In 2021, four-fifths of the increase in U.S. cement demand came from the residential side. View the most recent PCA forecast here.

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Posted on June 08, 2023

Electrified Process Yields Low-Carbon Cement

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There is more than 4 billion metric tons of concrete produced every year. That’s more than a thousand pounds for every one of the 8 billion people on the planet. The cement needed to produce all this concrete comes from clinker produced in giant kilns. What if it were possible to eliminate high-temperature kilns entirely? A new electrochemical process does just that.

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Posted on April 06, 2023

3D Printed Concrete Structures: Two Stories and Climbing

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The look of a curvaceous, beaded 3D printed concrete (3DPC) structure is unlike any other. It has been described as “waves frozen in concrete.” ICON’s equipment can print designs that “swoop, fold, and form half shells." From aesthetics to construction methods, 3DPC is radically different. This new construction method is proving to be fast, affordable, energy-efficient, and resilient. Structures resist hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and heat waves.

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Posted on March 23, 2023

Lime Clasts and Heat: The Romans' Secret Sauce

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Ancient Roman seawalls owe their extreme longevity in part to their “self-healing” capacity. Exposure to seawater facilitated the continued growth of crystalline structures in the concrete. Researchers have also focused on volcanic ash as a secret to the durability of Roman concrete used throughout the empire. The ash came from Pozzuoli along the Bay of Naples.

Lime clasts may have also played a role. Lime clasts are millimeter-scale mineral features distributed throughout many Roman concretes.

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Posted on March 16, 2023

Reduced Emissions With Oxyfuel Kilns

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There are circumstances when the air around us is simply not good enough – times when more concentrated oxygen works wonders. For example, oxygen aids climbers during ascents of Mount Everest. Oxygen also aids spent football players as they rest along the sideline.

Similarly, good things happen when cement kilns breathe oxygen instead of ambient air.

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Posted on February 23, 2023

Kiln Electrification Takes a Step Forward

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Heavy industry accounts for about a quarter of CO2 emissions worldwide. Burning fossil fuels to generate industrial process heat is a key factor. Heating steel blast furnaces to about 1000° C is one example. Heating cement kilns to about 1400° C is another.

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Posted on February 16, 2023

What is Energetically Modified Cement?

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The production of energetically modified cement (EMC) requires an intensive grinding process. The term "energetically modified" comes from the mechanochemical process used to produce this type of lower-carbon cement.

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Posted on February 02, 2023

Greener Cement With XRD

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Cement production is responsible for approximately six to eight percent of global carbon emissions. Much of this occurs in countries that make more of it, and/or less sustainably. Differences are substantial. For example, the #1 producer, China, releases six times more CO2 than #2 India. By comparison, cement accounts for 1.25% of carbon emissions in the United States.

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Posted on December 29, 2022

AI’s Role in Reducing Concrete Costs and Emissions

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In the 20th century, the question “Can machines think?” captured the imagination of some of the planet’s greatest thinkers. One was Alan Turing, the young British polymath who dared to answer “Yes!” His 1950 paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” suggested that machines, like humans, could learn to reason and solve problems. In certain ways, what he theorized seven decades ago is now a reality. Artificial intelligence (AI) impacts every major industry, and concrete is no exception.

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Posted on December 22, 2022

Novel Ways to Mitigate Atmospheric CO2

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In six decades, atmospheric CO2 increased from 320 to 420 ppm. That 25% increase warmed the atmosphere one full degree Centigrade (1.8° F). Now, there’s a global effort to limit the increase by 2050 to a 0.5° C maximum. In two centuries, the acidity of the oceans is up 30%.

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Posted on December 01, 2022

New Tech Makes for More Flexible SCMs

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Reducing emissions is front of mind in the concrete industry. It is and it will be for decades to come. There has been progress. Industry emissions are down an estimated 21% in seven years. Portland limestone cement (PLC) and other blended formulations are part of the success story.

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Posted on November 24, 2022

Cement Kilns in a Green Hydrogen Economy

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A single manufacturing process creates more than 4 billion tons of product per year. Since the process requires temperatures of 1450 degrees C, it is energy-intensive. There's another challenge as well. Calcination, the chemical reaction at the heart of the process, releases copious amounts of carbon dioxide. The product? Cement.

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Posted on November 03, 2022

Tired of Tires? The Concrete Industry Responds

Concrete 101

Just how many tires get discarded every year? More than a billion globally; about 300 million in the United States. Recycling this many tires is an ongoing logistical challenge.
On top of that, there’s a backlog of tires that have piled up over the years. The EPA estimates that there are 2-3 billion old tires across the country.

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Posted on October 27, 2022

Rethinking Rebar: Sustainable Alternatives

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In the span of only 150 years, reinforced concrete became one of the world's most significant building materials. The roads we drive on, the buildings where we work, and the homes we live in all rely on the strength of reinforced concrete.

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Posted on October 20, 2022

CCUS Mitigation Potential in Concrete

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CCUS is an acronym you’ll see more of in the years to come. It stands for “Carbon Capture, Utilization & Storage.” Some technologies capture and sequester CO2 before it enters the atmosphere. There are also technologies involving direct air capture. Direct injection into ready-mix concrete at the plant is another possibility.

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Posted on October 13, 2022

Ready Mix Concrete Market: Growth Forecast

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The global concrete market consists of residential, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure sectors. Various analysts routinely project short and long-term trends, both domestically and globally. Population growth and higher living standards will drive growth in the concrete industry. The pace of such growth will remain robust through the middle of the century.

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Posted on September 08, 2022

Incinerator Ash as a SCM: Meeting the Challenges


The disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) is a nationwide challenge. According to the EPA, total MSW in 2018 amounted to 292.4 million tons. That’s almost five pounds per person per day!

Less than a third of this waste gets recycled or composted. Fully half goes to landfills. A key component of MSW is the ash left over from incineration. It is commonly referred to as incinerator bottom ash (IBA).

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Posted on September 01, 2022

Cool Pavements = Cool Idea

Concrete Street

Solar radiation management (SRM) is a discipline focused on reflectivity, mostly in urban areas. MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CS Hub) estimates that pavement covers about 40% of America’s cities.

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Posted on August 25, 2022

3D Printed Homes Gaining Ground

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3D printed concrete (3DPC) construction offers a variety of benefits. Among them are design freedom, speedy construction, lower labor costs, and reduced waste.

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Posted on August 18, 2022

ICF Construction in 2022: Expanding Influence

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Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) continue to establish a beachhead in an ongoing battle of building materials. The continuous insulation and thermal mass of ICFs deliver desired energy efficiency. Occupants value quiet, comfortable surroundings more than ever.

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Posted on July 28, 2022

Is Carbon Negative Concrete in Our Future?

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All over the world, governments, industries and corporations look to 2050 as the year to achieve carbon neutrality.

More specifically, carbon neutrality is top-of-mind for many in the construction industry. And that’s good, since, according to the World Economic Forum, it accounts for 38% of global emissions. Worldwide, construction companies create another Paris every week.

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Posted on July 21, 2022

Role of IoT and AI on Concrete’s Road to Carbon Neutrality

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What is the #1 industrial product produced by humanity every year? The answer is concrete – an estimated 10 billion cubic yards worth, weighing 20 billion tons. Unfortunately, this production comes at a price – roughly 2 billion tons of GHG emissions. Governments and industry insiders target these excess emissions in the ongoing quest for carbon neutrality.

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Posted on June 09, 2022

Developments in Green Cement


According to McKinsey, global construction accounts for about a quarter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Concrete is a significant contributor. It accounts for 4.5 percent of global GHG emissions and 7.0 percent of CO₂ emissions.

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Posted on June 02, 2022

Kilns, Calcination & Energy Efficiency

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When it comes to carbon emissions, calcination in cement kilns remains the industry’s greatest challenge. First, fossil fuels remain the primary source of the extreme heat required. Second, the decarbonization of limestone releases large amounts of carbon dioxide.

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Posted on May 12, 2022

Conductive Concrete: New Possibilities

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One way to address concrete’s sustainability goals is to craft it to serve multiple masters. To a significant degree, it already does. For example, thanks to carbonation, exposed concrete meets structural needs while also serving as a carbon sink.

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Posted on March 24, 2022

Growth of 3D Concrete Printing

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3D printing using concrete or mortar formulations is also referred to as 3-Dimensional Concrete Printing (3DPC). Some refer to it as Building Additive Manufacturing (BAM). 3DPC involves extruding mortar or concrete through a nozzle, layer by layer. Advances in nozzle design allow for on-the-fly smoothing or texturing of walls.

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Posted on March 17, 2022

Major DOT Commits to Portland Limestone Cement

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All eyes are on greener cements that reduce emissions. Any gain ripples across a very large global concrete industry. Global cement production was 4.1 billion tons in 2020, up from 1.39 billion tons 25 years earlier. China accounts for 2.2 billion tons of the total. India’s annual production is 340 million tons. There are more than 2,000 active cement plants around the world.

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Posted on March 03, 2022

New Study Examines Net-Zero Viability

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Global carbon removal goals are important yet daunting. One estimate suggests that “By 2050, the world must remove ten gigatons of CO2 per year.” That’s more than the current annual emissions of the United States. Excess carbon dioxide not only warms the atmosphere, it also increases ocean acidity. Atmospheric events grow more extreme, and marine ecosystems suffer.

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Posted on February 24, 2022

Toward More Sustainable Paving

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A holistic approach to sustainable paving is ideal. Analysts increasingly look at a road’s entire lifecycle when calculating its carbon footprint. It is important to consider everything from the acquisition of aggregates and binders to the eventual recycling of road materials.

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Posted on January 27, 2022

The Continuing Quest for Emissions-Free Cement

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Concrete offers an unbeatable combination of resiliency, versatility and price. It can be cast into endless shapes. It is integral to almost every new commercial and residential building. Those buildings will continue to proliferate worldwide. In fact, one estimate suggests the number of buildings worldwide doubling by 2060. That’s the equivalent of building another New York City every month — for the next 40 years!

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Posted on December 07, 2021

Looking for Concrete Certification Programs? Contact PACA!

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“The best investment you can make is in yourself.” While successful businessman Warren Buffet has no known experience working with concrete, his words of wisdom prove to be true, as increasing your personal value is important to your career, no matter the industry.

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Posted on November 24, 2021

What is Concretene and Why Does it Matter?

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Merge the words “concrete” and “graphene,” and you get “concretene.” This newer building material also merges something very old with something very new. Concrete has been around for thousands of years. Graphene was first discovered in 2004.

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Posted on November 11, 2021

Oxides and Carbon Emissions

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In a full frontal assault on atmospheric carbon, it is important to develop all the potential weapons in the arsenal.

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Posted on October 14, 2021

More Accolades for ICF Designs

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Innovative residential and commercial ICF designs continue to win awards across the country. Draft-free continuous insulation is a major advantage. Resiliency is another. ICF walls withstand some of the most forceful assaults by Mother Nature.

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Posted on September 16, 2021

Emissions Initiatives & the Concrete Industry

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Global greenhouse gas emissions were consistent for the first four decades of the 20th century. Today’s levels are about 10 times that. According to the EPA, 65 percent of these emissions come from fossil fuels and industrial processes.

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Posted on August 19, 2021

Post-Covid Trends in Cement Production

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During the pandemic, overcapacity made the cement industry vulnerable to a sudden drop in demand. Covid's impact on the industry is the subject of an International Finance Corporation (IFC) report. Some regions proved more resilient than others.

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Posted on August 05, 2021

The Quest for More Eco-friendly ICF Components


Insulated concrete form (ICF) structures are low-maintenance, energy-efficient and long lasting. ICFs have been used to build structures as high as 22 stories. When it comes to home construction, interest only accelerates in an era of high lumber prices.

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Posted on July 22, 2021

XPrize Winners Focus on Concrete & Carbon Removal

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In 2015, XPrize announced a five-year, $20 million carbon removal competition. It sought to spur innovative technologies that reduce atmospheric carbon. In April, 2021, XPrize announced two winners. CarbonBuilt and CarbonCure would split the $15 million first place money. Semifinalists shared in the remaining $5 million.

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Posted on July 08, 2021

ICF Homes: Antidote to Rising Lumber Prices

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Soaring lumber prices drive new interest in insulated concrete form (ICF) construction. architects and designers take a closer look at ICFs for residential construction. They specify ICFs for below-grade foundations, above-grade exterior walls and interior walls.

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Posted on June 24, 2021

Omnibus Spending Bill a Boon to Carbon Capture

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More than a decade ago, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave a boost to wind and solar. Now, relevant provisions of the 2020 Omnibus Spending Bill may help to do the same for carbon capture.

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Posted on June 10, 2021

House of Tomorrow: Concrete’s Low Carbon Potential


Two decades into the 21st century, almost everyone in the construction industry looks for ways to be more sustainable. Demonstration projects focus attention on what is possible. One example is a new low-carbon "House of Tomorrow" in France. This project shows how to reduce carbon emissions throughout the structure’s lifecycle.

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Posted on May 27, 2021

LC3 Concrete: A More Sustainable Alternative

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LC3 is a low-carbon alternative to ordinary Portland cement (OPC). It is also an increasingly practical option. In LC3, calcined clay (CC) and limestone reduce the reliance on energy-intensive clinker.

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Posted on May 13, 2021

ICF Schools Win Accolades in 2021

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School districts have chosen ICF construction for more than two decades. They look to insulated concrete forms for energy savings, resilience and more. Now, two ICF school projects are among the recipients of the 2021 ICF Builder Awards. They are Granbury High School in Texas and Roy Junior High School in Utah.

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Posted on April 15, 2021

Performance of Recycled Concrete Aggregates: A New Study

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It is a basic axiom of environmental stewardship. When possible, use old stuff to make new stuff. The same is true with concrete aggregates. Mixes are more sustainable when recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) replaces natural aggregates, at least to a degree.

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Posted on March 18, 2021

More School Districts Eye ICF Construction

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ICF schools deliver a unique combination of structural strength and construction efficiency. Exterior ICF walls deliver code-compliant drainage planes and air sealing. They save copious amounts of energy via continuous insulation, thermal mass and no thermal bridging. ICFs are also fire resistant and mold resistant. As if all that is not enough, ICFs minimize sound transmission as well.

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Posted on March 04, 2021

ICF Curved Walls: How, When, Where and Why

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When you think of a wall built from insulated concrete forms (ICFs), you may picture a linear design. This is understandable. The majority of ICF walls are just that. The idea of a curved ICF design may seem a bit counter-intuitive, at least at first. However, ICF radius forms are readily available. Some contractors fashion curved walls from straight ICF forms as well.

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Posted on February 18, 2021

Concrete-Framed Homes: More Mainstream Than Ever

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ICF residential construction is more and more attractive. ICF construction is the antidote to concerns about mold, mildew, wood rot and insects. Homeowners appreciate the peace-of-mind that concrete walls deliver. Concrete resists threats posed by high winds, wildfires and earth tremors. Maintenance costs are low to non-existent. Resilience and thermal mass reduce the environmental footprint of a structure.

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Posted on December 18, 2020

Portland Limestone Cement Makes Concrete Greener

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Ton for ton, Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) performs much like ordinary Portland cement (OPC). Tests show that strength, durability and resilience are comparable. What is different is the 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions. The use of SCMs like fly ash or slag reduces a project’s carbon footprint even further.

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Posted on December 04, 2020

ICFs and Hotel Construction


Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and hotels are a perfect combination. Hotel developers value key attributes of ICF construction.

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Posted on November 26, 2020

Bendable ECC Concrete for Infrastructure and More

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Imagine the strength and durability of concrete. Now imagine that it bends - enough, at least, to absorb shock and reduce cracking. Bendable concrete intrigues researchers for many reasons. The possibilities for its use are many.

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Posted on November 12, 2020

Safe Rooms? Better Yet, Safe Houses!

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Every year, hurricanes, tornadoes and winds from strong thunderstorms damage properties nationwide. There are fears that there will be more storms, and more severe storms, in the future. Through it all, there’s an overarching desire to keep people safe and secure with concrete. Going forward, concrete’s inherent mass and strength will only grow more attractive.

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Posted on October 29, 2020

Innovative Concretes Expand Design Horizons

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Photo Credit: Andrew Weiss Photography

With today’s innovative concretes, designers have more latitude. At the same time, these new formulations promote sustainability in ever more effective ways.

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Posted on October 15, 2020

Concrete, Sustainability and Code Updates


Recent code updates address building safety, durability and sustainability. Architects often design with concrete to deliver code compliance. The longer life cycles and reduced maintenance of concrete structures enhance sustainability.

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Posted on October 01, 2020

Concrete’s Role in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS)

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CCUS is an acronym you'll hear more about in the concrete industry. It refers to “Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage.” The term encompasses different means used in pursuit of a singular goal, limiting the amount of carbon dioxide in the blanket of air that hugs our planet.

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Posted on September 17, 2020

Of Concrete & Forests: Enhancing and Protecting Carbon Sinks

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In important ways, the future of the planet depends on better balancing the emission and absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2). For example, forests absorb CO2, making them effective carbon sinks. By specifying concrete over wood, designers protect unlogged forests.

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Posted on September 03, 2020

Construction Efficiency of ICFs


Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) consist of concrete sandwiched between layers of expanded polystyrene. EPS is a rigid, closed-cell expanded foam fabricated from beads of polystyrene. ICF forms are so lightweight that they save on transportation costs. Typical R-values of ICFs are about four per inch.

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Posted on August 20, 2020

ICFs in School Construction


There are more than 300 U.S. schools featuring ICF construction. How does a school construction technique prove so popular that the count of completed projects soars to more than in less than 20 years? By delivering the qualities that educators, parents and students all value. ICFs deliver durability, safety, energy efficiency, sound attenuation and sustainability. They also promote the design flexibility that architects value.

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Posted on August 06, 2020

Concrete in Healthcare Construction


Concrete structures have long been valued for their safety and longevity. It also offers protection against all kinds of natural disasters. Concrete is a popular construction material for many healthcare projects. Hospitals, clinics, outpatient facilities, rehabilitation facilities and assisted living communities are some examples.

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Posted on July 23, 2020

ICFs in University Construction


The use of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) on university campuses is evident in Pennsylvania and across the country. Leadership values the durability, safety and energy-efficiency of ICFs.

ICF buildings on university campuses are built to last. In fact, they are up to 8.5 times stronger than wood-framed buildings. Research conducted by the Portland Cement Association confirms impact resistance exceeding 200 mph.

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Posted on June 25, 2020

Fire Safety: Concrete vs. CLT

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On September 14, 2014, 60 firefighters arrived at the University of Nottingham to find a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure engulfed in flames. The fire consumed a $24 million laboratory building that was about 70 percent complete. The likely culprit was an electrical short in a temporary power supply. The absence of windows and doors ventilated the fire to dire effect.

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Posted on June 10, 2020

Innovative Uses of ICFs

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Early on, insulated concrete forms (ICFs) found acceptance among commercial architects and builders. For example, Kentucky’s Richardsville Elementary School became the nation’s first net-zero school in 2010. The project demonstrated how widespread use of ICFs met critical criteria in modern construction. Storm-resistant ICF construction was vital in a region subject to tornadoes.

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Posted on May 28, 2020

ICFs and Net Zero Residential Construction


Net-zero is the gold standard in green construction. The term “net-zero” says it all. A net-zero structure uses less energy than it generates. It combines energy-efficient construction with on-site renewable energy. Solar, passive solar, wind and geothermal are common energy sources.

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Posted on April 28, 2020

Creating Curb Appeal: Decorative Concrete, Make Your Driveway Pop

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If you're looking for new ways to enhance your homes curb appeal, decorative concrete is your answer.

Decorative concrete delivers advantages and value in a number of ways. With the wide array of colors and textures to choose from the owner is virtually limited only by his or her imagination. There are also options regarding the method used to obtain your pavement enhancements. A brief list of those options is provided below.

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Posted on April 02, 2020

Understanding the Difference Between Cement and Concrete

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Have you ever heard the terms concrete and cement used interchangeably and wondered what the difference is? Is cement the wet form and concrete the hardened form? Are they different at all?

The truth is that cement and concrete are different, but they are linked. Read on to learn the difference between cement and concrete and how they’re used in the world around you.

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Posted on March 24, 2020

How Safe Are Concrete Buildings? 5 Benefits of Using Concrete

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Are you looking for a construction material that will meet your needs today without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet the needs of the future?

How you ever wondered why there are so many concrete buildings?

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world because of the many benefits it offers the building and the environment.

Not only is concrete the best building material for your wallet and the environment, but it's also the safest. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of building with concrete.

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Posted on March 03, 2020

Alternative Building Materials for Schools


In today's world, eco-friendly practices contribute to a positive reputation for any business's brand. This is even true when it comes to schools and educational facilities. After all, even experts recognize the value of sustainable branding for an organization.

If you're in charge of building a school, you want to make decisions while conscious of the environmental impact. That's why you're interested in alternative building materials for schools.

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Posted on February 20, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Concrete vs. Asphalt Cement

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Working in the ever-expanding construction industry means you need to stay well-informed of industry trends. Perhaps you're in charge of an upcoming paving project. So, you're curious about the benefits of using concrete vs asphalt cement for the project.

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Posted on December 17, 2019

Protecting Concrete From Deicer Damage

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Every spring, after the winter snow and ice have disappeared from the surface of concrete driveways, sidewalks and other exterior flatwork; homeowners are uncovering what first appear to be surface defects that were not apparent in the fall or when the concrete was first placed. The concrete now has a number of blemishes, pock marks, or areas where the surface of the concrete flaked off. This condition, known as scaling, can be initiated and exacerbated by the use of deicers.

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Posted on December 05, 2019

What To Look For In A Concrete Contractor

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Concrete is a key building material for both residential and commercial spaces, with the global market estimated to be over $395 billion. And this is really not surprising, since concrete is the most widely used building material in the world.

This brings us to the crucial role that a concrete contractor plays in helping you build your facility.

With each project requiring its own unique set of skills and industry knowledge, connecting with the right contractor who will understand your requirements is not an easy task.

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Posted on November 07, 2019

Understanding Cold Weather Concreting

In a perfect world we would place concrete in temperatures between 50 F- 70 F but we don’t live in a perfect world. The demands of today’s construction schedules means our projects are under construction when it is hot and when it is cold. Recognizing that, we also understand that with the proper precautions and practices concrete can be placed virtually year round.

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Posted on October 22, 2019

Minimizing Concrete’s Environmental Impact

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Concrete is one of the most widely-used materials in the world; in fact, the US produces 350 million cubic yards of it annually to build roads, buildings, dams, etc.

Additionally, the worldwide production of Portland cement (used to bind concrete together) is projected to increase to 4.4 billion metric tons by 2050. With increased demand and production, there is a growing concern about its rather large carbon footprint – producing this material is an energy-intensive process that emits enormous amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and a range of other pollutants.

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Posted on September 24, 2019

Explaining What Is Concrete Curing

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Concrete’s durability is the main reason it is the most sought after building material. As such, most of the focus is on mixing the material to ensure maximum strength. However the next process, known as curing, may be more important.

Concrete gets its strength through hydration. This reaction occurs due to the water in the concrete mix. To ensure that the concrete is reaches its maximum potential maintaining that moisture is critical. That is where curing starts.

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Posted on September 12, 2019

Bendable Concrete – Is It Possible?

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American infrastructure has been deteriorating at a shocking pace. Just last year, the State of Pennsylvania received a low rating of ‘C-‘ in the infrastructure report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

To address this problem, researchers have been testing different materials, and ways of enhancing the performance of concrete for decades. We are now finally close to developing the perfect replacement for ordinary concrete, i.e., Bendable Concrete.

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Posted on August 27, 2019

Beginners Guide To Concrete Maturity

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Simply put, maturity is a real-time approach to estimating the compressive strength of in-place concrete, and relating it to the effects of temperature and time.

This process is used to measure the progression of the curing process; it is an accurate indexing method of figuring out the strength of the concrete, while it cures.

The maturity method, often just called maturity, carries out strength testing in a non-destructive manner, making it ideal for use by builders, suppliers, and subcontractors. It is the perfect way of conducting quick evaluations to determine the exact instant at which the concrete reaches its required strength.

Since maturity is directly related to the strength and durability of the concrete, this method is the best way to measure it without depending on standard laboratory testing, or using test specimens. It can virtually eliminate the use of concrete cylinder break testing, with the exception of breaking cylinders as a means of verification.

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Posted on August 15, 2019

How Technology Is Transforming The Concrete Industry

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Rising global economies and population have caused the construction industry to grow at a rapid pace. In turn, this has made cement as vital and valuable as oil, especially since this common building material is admirably versatile, and is widely used for constructing infrastructure, bridges, roads, etc.

Consider this: the concrete market has experienced a steady growth in the US since 2011. The production of concrete amounted to about 98 million metric tons in 2017, with predictions of further increments.

This expansion is largely fueled by the integration of technology into the concrete industry, leading to the development of special materials and advanced processes – designed to meet the growing need in an eco-friendly way.

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Posted on July 30, 2019

A Brief History And Future Use of Translucent Concrete

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Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world. However, researchers and manufacturers have been working together to produce different types of concrete to improve the overall quality and the economic value of construction.

As a result, translucent concrete has gained popularity in many industries across the world. As an energy saving and eco-friendly building material, Light Transmitting or translucent concrete is now increasingly used in fine architecture and cladding for interiors.

Here’s everything you need to know about translucent concrete and its future in the construction industry.

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Posted on July 18, 2019

Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Traditional Concrete

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Concrete is a mixture of cement, gravel, sand, water and a range of aggregates. With about 10 billion tons of concrete produced every year, it is the most consumed substance in the world, second only to water.

It is also the world’s most widely used material for construction – from bridges to large buildings, concrete forms the very foundation of our infrastructure. Over 70% of the world’s population lives in a concrete structure.

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Posted on July 02, 2019

Techniques for Concrete Curing

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The process of curing concrete is an important step in providing sufficient hydration to the building material. This is achieved by employing specific methods to maintain a certain level of moisture, and prevent the fall of temperature brought about by heat loss.

Curing concrete also allows it to reach its optimal strength. The longer that it is left to cure, the more durable it will be.

Some of the popular techniques for curing concrete are as follows:

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Posted on June 20, 2019

Why Concrete Trumps Wood as the Better Building Material


From high rise buildings to suburban homes, concrete is the number one building material of choice for architects and designers around the world.

Although wood is a close substitute, concrete has numerous benefits that make it the better option for most construction projects.

Here are some reasons why concrete trumps wood as a building material.

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Posted on June 04, 2019

A Brief History Of Decorative Concrete

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With origins dating back to ancient times, modern concrete and its main ingredient, i.e. cement, has been significantly modified over time. This remarkable material was used by the Romans and Greeks some 2,000 years ago – who used volcanic ash and lime, which, when mixed with water, formed a hard mass.

It was finally in 1891, that the first concrete street was poured in the United States, in Ohio.

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Posted on May 23, 2019

The Versatility of Stamped Concrete and Why Its a Great Fit for Your House

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The global market for decorative concrete is expected to grow with a CAGR of approximately 6.2%, as more ingenious ways to incorporate it into urban spaces are adopted.

As a durable and versatile building material, stamped concrete serves as a modern flooring choice – especially for home owners looking to add depth to their floors without stretching their budget.

Let’s see how the versatility of decorative concrete makes it an excellent choice for your house.

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Posted on May 07, 2019

What Is 3D Printed Concrete? Can It Change The Construction Industry As We Know It?

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From the time the Theatre de Marcellus was built, to the iconic high-rise skyline of New York, the art of construction has remained relatively unchanged. To date, conventional techniques such as manual labor, formwork, and traditional building mixtures are used to erect structures.

However, with the advent of technological advancements in construction automation, an observable shift has taken place in construction processes. Disruptive technologies in the face of 3D automated machines are gradually crossing over into construction industry. Although in its infancy, these machines are expected to bring housing solutions to 1.2 billion global citizens lacking access to safe and affordable accommodation.

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Posted on April 25, 2019

What Exactly Is Lightweight Concrete?

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The first modern use of lightweight concrete (LWC) was recorded in 1917, when the American Emergency Fleet Corporation started building ships with this mixture due to its high strength and performance. Since then, LWC has become a common building material for constructing sturdy load-bearing walls, bridges, and sewer systems.

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Posted on April 09, 2019

The Growing Trend of Concrete in Interior Designing


The dynamics of interior design are ever evolving. Change takes place unceasingly, bringing forth novel ideas that aid in staying ahead of the trend curve, which is imperative to remain relevant in the construction industry.

The industry-leading innovations fueling trends are only limited by the imagination of the inventors. This time around, the imagination drifts towards a revamp of industrial spaces. Among the recently emerging trends, one which remains uncommon and has conflicted with designing trends of the past is the increasing use of concrete in interior spaces.

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Posted on March 28, 2019

Self Consolidating Concrete – Origins and Uses


Constructions have allowed mankind to swing the arc of civilization to the fullest. From the Megalithic Temples in Malta carved into rock, to the contemporary architecture of Burj Khalifa built from reinforced concrete, these structures tell stories of mankind’s evolutionary triumph throughout the ages.

Experimenting with materials with the aim to build sturdier structures has resulted in an industry culture of developing better building materials. These have allowed the creation of taller and highly complex architecture.

When modern building materials come into question, self-consolidating concrete, also known as SCC, stands out thanks to the numerous benefits it presents to constructors.

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Posted on March 12, 2019

Concrete Pavement Bases and Sub-Bases


Whenever tasked with building a home, construction companies make sure the rafters and trusses have the strength to hold the roof. Likewise, when building bridges, the bridge piers require special attention as they are tasked with load distribution.

From parking lots to highways, anything that must bear weight should have a strong and stable foundation.

This is why pavements require a robust and solid foundation. Bearing the load of millions of vehicles that pass over them, pavements require strength and adequate load distribution to be able to provide a durable platform for transport.

Pavement construction techniques have evolved significantly over the years. This article will take a comprehensive look into the world of concrete pavement bases and sub-bases.

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Posted on February 28, 2019

Using Recycled Concrete Aggregate

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Construction aggregate includes a range of particulate materials - ranging from coarse to medium grains - including sand, gravel, slag, crushed stones, and recycled concrete. These materials are mixed in with concrete to give the end product a strong and durable finish.

Construction contractors and customers alike, look for affordability and strength above all else. A world of difference can be seen in both these factors when the right concrete aggregate is utilized. One viable aggregate that comes in multiple sizes and scales is hardened concrete.

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Posted on February 12, 2019

Concrete Buildings – Tilt-Up Construction

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Tilt-up construction is a technique that facilitates construction, making working with concrete a quick and convenient job. It involves the casting of concrete elements such as walls, pillars, and supports, horizontally on top of concrete slabs. This includes the building’s floors, and other temporary concrete castings, to be set on a flat surface.

There are numerous techniques that can be used to construct with concrete, including slipforming, jumpforming, flying slabs, tunnel forming, lift slabs, shortcreting, ferrocement, and others. However, one method that really stands out is the tilt-up construction.

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Posted on January 03, 2019

Jobsite Safety Considerations

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Concrete contractors, along with all the stakeholders in any construction or paving project, understand the importance of safety at the site. The National Ready Mix Concrete Association (NRMCA) promotes jobsite safety through its JOB SAFE program.

It's important for everyone to unite in a common effort to keep workers and equipment out of harm's way. Accidents impact individuals and families, and they are often responsible for costly construction delays and fines that diminish hard-earned reputations.

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Posted on December 11, 2018

Why Design with Pervious Concrete?

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Designers are increasingly specifying pervious concrete as stormwater management concerns expand due to growing interest in sustainable construction practices.

There are economic considerations as well. For example, reducing stormwater runoff is very attractive to developers who want to minimize the land devoted to retention ponds.

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Posted on November 08, 2018

Why Continuing Education and Training is Critical for Industry Pros

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Continuing education in American business and industry is more than a good idea; it is often a requirement. In many areas, it ensures compliance with new laws, codes and licensing requirements. Also, continuing education is sometimes a prerequisite for maintaining association memberships.

Ultimately, knowledge is power, particularly when you possess the most current knowledge in the industry. Monetize what you know through superior performance that enhances your reputation, whatever kind of industry pro you may be.

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Posted on October 25, 2018

Why Certification Programs are Important to Industry Pros

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To date, more than half-a-million concrete pros have successfully completed certification programs administered by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and its local Sponsoring Groups. The value of ACI certifications increases as more and more decision makers require them.

In Pennsylvania, virtually any commercial or PennDOT project will require appropriate certifications from the American Concrete Institute. ACI establishes industry standards recognized worldwide, and its certifications are a gold standard in the industry.

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Posted on October 09, 2018

6 Tips for Placing Concrete in Cold Weather


In northern climates, successful cold weather concreting expands contractor opportunities while meeting demanding construction schedules. Waiting for Mother Nature to fully cooperate often leads to costly delays that owners, investors and developers simply cannot afford.

However, proper planning is essential for successful cold weather concreting.

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Posted on September 06, 2018

Maximize Your Multimillion Dollar Construction Budget With Concrete

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In every construction project, it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to evaluate it from a lifecycle perspective. A thorough lifecycle analysis reveals the many benefits of concrete.

In an era of increased environmental awareness, such considerations are even more important. In general, the environmental impact of a given building or pavement project decreases when materials last longer. Projects with shorter lifespans tend to generate waste quicker and consume more resources.

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Posted on August 21, 2018

4 Finishing Options for Decorative Concrete

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Decorative concrete gives the standard variety a serious makeover. Enjoy durability and style combined in one attractive, long-lasting surface. You'll find that the creative applications are virtually limitless. The undeniable curb appeal of decorative concrete means that a percentage of the cost is frequently recovered at resale.

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Posted on July 12, 2018

What is Hot Weather Concreting?

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Since much of Pennsylvaniaʼs exterior concrete work occurs in the summer, hot weather concreting is of real interest to contractors. Those that take the extra steps necessary to place concrete in hot weather stay on schedule, and they keep crews busy.

However, extra care is required to ensure that concrete placed under adverse summer circumstances will be strong and durable.

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Posted on June 28, 2018

Concrete Specifications for Light & Heavy-duty Parking Lots

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The unsurpassed quality, strength and durability of concrete make it an excellent choice for parking lot construction.

During the course of its impressive service life, a concrete parking lot requires only minimal maintenance like occasional joint sealing and cleaning. Maintenance savings accrue year after year.

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Posted on June 14, 2018

8 Benefits of a Concrete Driveway

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At first glance, the smooth, solid surfaces of asphalt and concrete driveways appear more similar than not. However, there are key differences in longevity, load-bearing capacity, convenience, lifecycle costs and resale value.

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Posted on May 31, 2018

Improved Bridge Deck Concrete in Pennsylvania

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Many of Pennsylvania's bridges were constructed decades ago, a time when usage was vastly different than it is today. As a result, many bridges carry much more traffic than their designers ever intended. Since the days of the Eisenhower administration, America's vehicles have tripled in number.

The most recent National Bridge Inventory (NBI) from the Federal Highway Administration identifies 22,783 bridges in Pennsylvania. Forty percent of them are classified as either "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete." To rectify the situation, billions of dollars in repairs, restorations and replacements are needed.

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Posted on May 17, 2018

Insulated Concrete Forms vs. Conventional Wood Framing


The construction of buildings using insulated concrete forms (ICFs) offers numerous tangible benefits over wood-frame construction, including energy savings, durability, the speed of construction, reduced environmental impact and insurance savings. Also, ICF walls are effective vapor barriers, and they suppress the transmission of sound as well.

There are also intangible benefits to consider, like increased peace-of-mind for property owners, tenant satisfaction and a greater perception of value by prospective buyers.

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Posted on May 01, 2018

5 Key Benefits of Roller Compacted Concrete

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Roller-compacted concrete (RCC) is a durable material increasingly used for parking lots and high-load applications. From intermodal yards to industrial flooring, RCC is already seen as an economical and durable solution. It is now also being used to complete a number of municipal paving projects in Pennsylvania.

The RCC process requires a stiff, zero-slump mix with the consistency of damp gravel. Rolling achieves desired densities and strength without reinforcement. A very low water-to-cement ratio often makes RCC as strong as conventional concrete. Diamond grinding is an option when a surface without roller marks and with precisely defined frictional characteristics is important.

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Posted on April 03, 2018

Insurance Benefits of Using Concrete for Building Construction


If you are a building developer, you face a fundamental question when a multi-family project moves forward, "What type of construction do I invest in?" Hazard mitigation is one key consideration due to its impact on insurance and other costs.

Fortunately, it's possible to take a strategic, calculated approach to mitigating risk. MIT's Break Even Mitigation Percent (BEMP) Model guides decisions regarding hazard mitigation costs. In one example, a $340,000 hazard mitigation investment in a $10 million commercial structure is made up through reduced insurance premiums and other savings.

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Posted on March 15, 2018

5 Reasons Why Concrete Is Better Than Asphalt for Parking Lots

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Should your new parking lot be surfaced with asphalt or concrete? There are many reasons to seriously consider concrete, from economic to environmental and from aesthetic to functional. Here are five key reasons why an investment in a concrete parking lot makes sense.

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