concrete

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The World Is Facing a Sand Crisis

The impacts of extracting construction minerals such as sand and gravel to create roads and buildings have been overlooked

Posted on Sep 28 2017 by Anonymous

By Aurora Torres, Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Jodi Brandt, and Kristen Lear


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Image Credits:

  1. James Baker / CC BY 2.0 / bestreviewbase.com

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Connecticut Lawmakers Consider Aid for Homeowners With Failing Foundations

Repair loans, state guarantees on municipal borrowing, and permit fee waivers are among proposals to help hundreds of homeowners

Posted on Mar 7 2017 by Scott Gibson

Connecticut state lawmakers are considering several ways of helping homeowners whose homes are threatened by failing concrete foundations.


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Image Credits:

  1. Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements

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There’s No Relief in Sight for Beleaguered Connecticut Homeowners

Failing concrete foundations render some homes worthless, with the total number of affected properties still unknown

Posted on Nov 17 2016 by Scott Gibson

Connecticut authorities continue to gather information about failing concrete foundations in hundreds and possibly thousands of homes in the eastern part of the state, but there is no financial relief in sight now for homeowners whose houses are essentially worthless.


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Image Credits:

  1. Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements

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Looking for a Breakthrough in Cement and Concrete

The most common building material on the planet extracts a heavy environmental toll, but there are opportunities for change

Posted on Aug 9 2016 by Robert Hutchinson

The toughest climate challenges involve large global industries, with no good substitutes. One of these literally produces the material under our feet — concrete. Every year, each of us in the U.S. uses about one-third of a ton. Fast-growing developing countries use far more. Globally we produce over 4 billion metric tons of Portland cement per year — the key ingredient in concrete and responsible for the majority of its CO2 footprint — driving over 5% of total anthropomorphic CO2.


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Image Credits:

  1. Simonsimages / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

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Sand for Construction Is Vanishing

A boom in urban development has brought a run on the kind of sand that can be used in concrete, glass, and asphalt — and mining it comes at a very high cost

Posted on Jun 27 2016 by Scott Gibson

If someone were to compile a list of things we're not likely to run out of, ever, wouldn't sand be at or near the top? That's a logical assumption, but it turns out that we're using sand for construction at such a blinding rate that it's in short supply in some areas, and mining what's left is taking its toll on the environment.


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Image Credits:

  1. Dominic Alves / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

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Reducing Concrete’s Hefty Carbon Footprint

Bit by bit, innovators are chipping away at this ubiquitous material's environmental downsides

Posted on Jun 13 2016 by Nate Berg

A roomful of materials scientists, gathered at UCLA for a recent conference on “grand challenges in construction materials,” slowly passed a brick-size white block around the room. They held in their hands, briefly, part of the solution to one of those grand challenges. The white block, rock solid and surprisingly lightweight, was a new alternative to cement, the glue that holds together aggregate, or crushed rock, to make the world’s most ubiquitous building material: concrete.


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Image Credits:

  1. Rick Kimpel / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

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Failing Concrete Foundations Linked to Aggregate

In Connecticut, hundreds of homeowners report crumbling foundations; authorities blame a mineral found in stone aggregate

Posted on May 18 2016 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED May 18


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Image Credits:

  1. Don Urban / CC BY 2.0/ Flickr

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Placing Concrete for a Passivhaus Foundation

At the Potwine Passivhaus job site, contractors erected a tent to protect the fresh slab from cold temperatures

Posted on Sep 11 2014 by Alexi Arango

As they set out to build a single-family PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. on Potwine Lane in Amherst, Massachusetts, Alexi Arango and LeeAnn Kim asked themselves, “Is it possible to live without burning fossil fuels?” One measure of success would be meeting their goal of net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. performance. This is the third blog in a planned series.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Alexi Arango

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Do I Really Need a Concrete Basement Floor?

A reader turning a partial basement into living space will have to remove the slab that's already there. Does he have to replace it with more concrete?

Posted on May 5 2014 by Scott Gibson

Rob Rosen is diving into a basement remodel, a job that involves digging out and removing a concrete slab to provide more headroom so the basement can be turned into usable living space.

He'll reinforce the footing and foundation as needed, but when it comes time to build a new floor for the basement, Rosen wonders whether he can go with something other than a concrete slab.


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Reinventing Concrete

A California company envisions a world in which the 8 billion tons of concrete used each year sequester billions of tons of carbon dioxide

Posted on Mar 27 2014 by Alex Wilson

I’ve been in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past week speaking at various conferences. (When I travel I try to combine activities to assuage my guilt at burning all the fuel and emitting all that carbon dioxide to get there. Between conferences, I’m now spending time with my daughter in Petaluma and Napa.)


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

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