What You Might Not Know About Cement

Building a house, or even remodeling a section of your house, is a big task. If you’re building or remodeling your home with intention (that is, making choices by weighing the facts of each option) you’re probably starting to feel like the extent of the information you need to know is unattainable. We can’t give you all of the information you need in one blog post but we can condensed some information about cement for you!

Cement is a building material used at a massive level in our global economy. It is a building material that is easy to form and cheap. It has indisputably revolutionized the building process, and we all benefit from it. So... is there a catch?

Here are 10 things you might not have known about cement.

Global use. 3 billion tons of cement are used around the world each year

“Cement Statistics.” 2010. U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Resources Program, USA.

Not combustible. It does not burn, melt, warp, lose structural strength or drip molten material in a fire.

Ingredients. The cement production process begins with the calcination of about 65% limestone (calcium carbonate – CaCO3), 22% silica oxide (SiO2), 6% aluminum oxide (Al2O3), and 3% iron oxide (Fe2O3) at a temperature of 1450°C.

Harmful gases. Cement plants are a significant source of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. All of which create serious health conditions if a person is regularly exposed.

CO2. Cement production produces a high amount of CO2, accounting for almost 5% of the world’s anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

A lot of CO2. Approximately 337 billion tons of carbon have been emitted through cement production and the burning of fossil fuels since 1751.

No other options. There is no way to make concrete without creating CO2

Recyclable. Concrete debris was once routinely shipped to landfills for disposal, but recycling is increasing due to improved environmental awareness, governmental laws and economic benefits.

Improvements. Since 1975, the cement industry has reduced CO2 emissions by 33%.

There is self-cleaning concrete. Recently introduced formulations of cement are able to neutralise pollution. Harmful smog can be turned into harmless compounds and washed away.This process is known as photocatalysis.

So, is cement good.. or bad? Large amounts of CO2 emissions are reported each year regardless of the large decrease since 1977. Yet we find hope and inspiration in the innovative self-cleaning concrete recently added to the global market, as well as its ability to be non-combustible. Ultimately, it is up to the intentional consumer to educate themselves and decide.

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