If we are really serious about building greener homes then we also should consider the carbon footprint of cement, that's right, the concrete under your feet, inside your home, the walkways around it and the deck by the pool too? What about the drive way and sidewalks in front of the house, yep, all that is concrete too. But you ask, I thought concrete was inert, how can it put out CO2?
Interesting you should ask that, as the building industry was shocked too, when it learned that 5-10% of all the CO2 emitted comes from the making of concrete, did you know that? I did not and was blown away by that figure when I read it is in the Christian Science Monitor the other day. But when you think about it, well, it makes perfect sense. You see, the concrete is made of limestone, silt or sand and chemicals. That means there are tractors, conveyors, rock crushers, cement trucks, and some of the sand comes from the Middle East on ships too.
Think of all the concrete in our civilizations, we have roads, freeways, parking lots, sidewalks, storm drain pipes, damns, and even sides of buildings “tilt-ups” are made of concrete. Yes, just think of all that concrete under our feet, inside and around your home. It all has a carbon-footprint.
Well, do not worry because the building industry is looking into solving these problems and reducing the amount of cement used in the foundations, and in Europe, it is reported that they use a lot of carbon eating concrete. Maybe someday they can mix carbon nano-tube coatings to increase the strength of the concrete, reducing the amount used and making it much stronger in the process too?