Concrete News You Can Use: December 2009 Stanford University Gets a Concrete Facelift
The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported on a new change on the Stanford University campus. Stanford is seeking to spend more than $250 million over the next 10 years in order to make the school more environmentally friendly.
New buildings made from concrete prove to be an effective way to use less energy. One new building, called the Y2E2, is leading the way for future campus buildings. The Y2E2 was constructed from concrete, it has large, thermally covered windows, and it uses "90 percent less potable water than similar buildings on campus."
Interestingly, most of the new building's changes will be "...virtually undetectable to the students and faculty who use it."
How can this be? Even though the building (and subsequent buildings) are made of eco-friendly concrete, most people in the San Francisco area will hardly notice a difference. The building is "designed appropriately... You can have a high-performance building that's attractive and comfortable."
This type of design just goes to prove that constructing new eco-friendly buildings from concrete doesn’t have to mean living uncomfortably.
If you happen to be in the middle of building a home or if you are seeking to purchase a new construction, consider looking toward concrete in lieu of wood. While wood has proven to be a solid material for decades, concrete is now the eco-friendly material of choice.
Benefits to Building with Concrete:
- You reduce the number of trees needed to build a structure. When homes are built with wooden frames, the wood used to build those homes is taken from forests. Contrastingly, concrete does not deplete natural wood resources.
- The product is a low-maintenance building that will last for many years – concrete doesn’t rot or weather, and it is also incredibly strong.
- You will note a reduction in the amount of energy that is used. Since heat moves slowly through concrete walls, less energy is needed in order to heat or cool a concrete building. In addition, concrete buildings are insulated better than wooden frame buildings, which means that less heat will escape from a concrete building.
- There is a possibility of using recycled materials. Many concrete companies now use recycled materials in addition to pure concrete. Ask manufacturers about recycled concrete materials that may include limestone, sand or clay (most types of concrete that are mixed with recycled materials are just as efficient and eco-friendly as pure concrete).
- Concrete is fire-resistant. Concrete is not as susceptible to fire as wood. This means that any home built with concrete is safer than a home built with wood.
Clearly, concrete is a great eco-friendly alternative to wood. Whether you are shopping for a home or looking to add on to your existing home, think about following in Stanford's footsteps by using concrete instead of wood – not only will you help save the environment, you’ll also save lots of money!
Author Harriette Halepis is a writer based in Montreal. She specializes in DIY and modern interior design. Ask Harriette for advice on anything from vegetarian Canadian bacon to adding mod accents to your home décor.