Over the past several decades, there has been a continuous increase in human and economic loss from disaster events. The rise in disasters and their consequences is related to a rise in people’s vulnerability, induced by human development. However, examples of resiliency planning and more stringent building code requirements still lag. This article will offer a view on emerging risks and opportunities as human and economic losses from disasters increase, with the overarching goal of supporting and advancing resilience in future construction of buildings and critical infrastructure.
In addition to performance, budget and aesthetics, design professionals are now being asked to evaluate the environmental burdens of their design choices. Measuring the impacts of buildings, assemblies and products can be complex. Every design decision, from material and product selection to envelope design and construction can have an impact on the environment and the methods used to evaluate those decisions are still not widely understood. This article will address critical issues the design professional should consider as he/she evaluates the environmental impacts of building materials to maximize performance and deliver lasting value.
The Balanced Design Approach to Fire Safety: How Concrete Building Systems Can Help Reduce Risk (Print Course)
Structure fires and wildfires result in significant loss of life and property in the U.S. each year. In addition to the direct losses of fighting fires, relocating residents and rebuilding, large fire events can cause substantial indirect losses to communities. There has been an increase in single-family and multifamily structure fire losses, partly due to increased use of combustible construction methods. This article investigates the causes of these fires and provide balanced design recommendations using both active and passive fire protection strategies. It will suggest several noncombustible concrete building systems to help reduce the risk of fire loss in buildings.
Zero energy school construction is a growing trend across the country. A combination of advanced energy efficiency strategies, affordable solar power and an innovative concrete building system called Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) is making it possible. ICFs combine the strength and durability of reinforced concrete with the versatility and energy efficiency of rigid insulation.
When looking at the environmental impact of a building, it is important to assess every stage of the environmental life cycle: from material extraction to product manufacturing, to building operations and maintenance, through end-of-life. Concrete offers environmental attributes that help reduce overall environmental life cycle impacts of a building. This course explores how life cycle assessment can be used to measure and lower the environmental impacts of buildings.
LEED v4 includes advancements that will change the way design professionals, contractors and product manufacturers do business. Many credits, such as Rainwater Management, Heat Island Reduction and Optimized Energy Performance are refined. Others, such as Material and Resource (MR) credits, challenge product manufacturers to disclose their environmental, social and health impacts in third-party validated reports.
This article reveals strategies using concrete that yield successful results in achieving sustainability goals.
Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs), combining the strength and durability of reinforced concrete with the versatility and energy efficiency of rigid insulation, provide an ideal solution for commercial and institutional buildings. With a lower first cost than wood and steel construction, ICFs improve occupant safety, fire resistance and noise transmission for office, hospital, school and retail buildings, among others. This article will address how the thermal properties of ICFs, combining the high R-value of rigid insulation with the thermal mass of concrete, offer building owners significant energy savings over the long term. The article will also provide guidance on how to minimize the cost of ICF construction to take full advantage of these benefits, resulting in investments that are secure and generate long-term value.
Concrete is the material of choice for the tallest buildings in the world and infrastructure designed to last centuries. To meet demands for these cutting-edge projects, concrete must be stronger, more durable and more workable than ever before. This article explores how new products, manufacturing methods and research are developing innovative concretes to meet these new challenges. Bendable concrete, smog eating concrete and carbon capture are just a few examples of new technologies enhancing a product that is nearly 5,000 years in development.
Concrete is used in nearly every structure we build today, including buildings, bridges, homes and infrastructure. With greater emphasis placed on sustainability, design professionals are faced with the challenge of meeting traditional design criteria with evolving criteria that support green building and efforts to reduce impact on climate change.
Performance-based specifications for concrete represent an important synergy with sustainability initiatives because they provide the opportunity to optimize mixtures for performance that can also reduce environmental impacts. Prescriptive specifications often adversely impact the environmental footprint of concrete structures. This article outlines how concrete performance can be improved while lowering environmental footprint by implementing performance-based specifications.
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