It is easy to overlook the benefits of aggregates and concrete to society. Aggregates and concrete are used to build our schools, hospitals, apartment blocks, bridges, tunnels, dams, sewerage systems, pavements, runways, roads and much more.
According to the European Commission, 75% of the EU population live in towns and cities. This presents a range of challenges, including the need for housing, water and sanitation, energy supply and transport infrastructure. Concrete is a highly flexible, durable, affordable and energy-efficient material that can help to effectively address these challenges. It can provide above-ground and underground infrastructure, ranging from energy efficient buildings and housing, to water infrastructure, roads and innovative underground transport solutions. Concrete can also be cast into virtually any shape or form, which allows for design freedom and variety in the applications.
The concrete sector can help tackle the shortage of housing and the need for rapid construction by providing materials to support the construction of comfortable, affordable and energy efficient housing. Its flexibility means that concrete can also be found in interior settings such as kitchens and bathrooms. Concrete’s ability to absorb temperature variations (called thermal mass) contributes to building comfort as well as lower costs. Its durability means maintenance and renovation are also reduced. Concrete is made to last!
Concrete buildings can have a minimum service life of 50 years, but may remain serviceable for hundreds of years, if properly maintained. In addition safety comes as standard with concrete. Concrete has unsurpassed and proven fire resistance properties. It does not burn or melt and retains its structural stability at high temperatures. All these in-built properties, combined with its affordability, acoustic performance and its contribution to healthier indoor air quality, highlight just some of the practical societal benefits of concrete.