Sustainable Concrete Architecture

Intrepid Curved Building

Sustainability FAQs

Precast concrete contributes to green building practices in significant ways. The lower water-cement ratios possible with precast concrete (in the range of 0.36 to 0.38) mean that it can be extremely durable. The thermal mass of concrete allows the shifting of peak heating and cooling loads in a structure to help reduce mechanical-system requirements. Because precast concrete is factory-made, there is little waste created in the plant (most plants employ exact-batching technologies) and it reduces construction waste and debris on site, reducing construction indoor air quality concerns. The load-carrying capacities, optimized cross-sections, and long spans possible with precast concrete members help eliminate redundant members, and concrete readily accommodates recycled content.

The United Nations Brundtland Commission Report (1987) defined sustainable development and urged the world to take note: “Sustainable development is that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” A growing global population is straining the finite resources available on the planet. Sustainability seems to balance the economic, social, and environmental impacts, recognizing that population growth will continue. Sustainable development brings this evaluation to the design and construction industries, which have significant potential to reduce the negative impact of human activities on the environment.

More and more local, regional, and national government agencies require sustainable building practices or LEED certification. The General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. Army, Department of State Department of Energy (DOE). And Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adopting LEED or similar green-building standards. Twenty-five states including California, New York, Washington, and Oregon have adopted LEED as have over 100 municipalities.

Most project teams perform a comprehensive life-cycle cost assessment (LCC) prior to defining their sustainable goals for the project. The LCC predicts how long it will take to recoup the additional first cost.

"The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them."
Paul Hawken


Insulated/Sandwich Wall Panel

Insulated/Sandwich Wall Panel

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Thermal Efficiency

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Featured Projects

Education 08/30/2010

Willow Creek Elementary

The two-story, 108,000 ft2 Willow Creek Elementary School was built in response to increased enrollments at the elementary school level. The school opened for the 2009-2010 academic year and features 44

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Statue of Liberty Museum side of museum view
Municipal/Government 05/30/2019

Statue of Liberty Museum and Screening Facility

At this iconic location, now stands resilient structures that are dynamic in expression and were inspired by the irregularity of the water’s

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Front Entrance Tilden Elementary Center
Education 06/29/2009

Hamburg Elementary School (Tilden)

An outstanding thermal performance was achieved at Hamburg Elementary school (Tilden) with CarbonCast walls. Amid skyrocketing energy costs and heightened

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Nassau 8th Precinct Front Entrance
Municipal/Government 08/10/2018

Nassau 8th Precinct

Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, many structures owned by Nassau County in New York state were evaluated for structural damage, including the police precincts. Prior to the storm...

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