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Precast Concrete and
Sustainable Design

Precast concrete contributes to goals of environmental
stewardship in many ways.

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DURABILITY AND ADAPTABILITY

Precast concrete panels provide a long service life due to their durable, low-maintenance surfaces. Insulated sandwich panel construction with concrete exterior and interior walls provides long-term durability inside and out, and precast concrete construction also provides the opportunity to move and reuse panels to refurbish the building, rather than tear it down, should its use or function change.

THERMAL MASS AND ENERGY PERFORMANCE

The thermal mass of concrete allows shifting of heating and cooling loads in a structure to help reduce mechanical-system requirements and energy consumption through the building envelope.

FIRE AND NATURAL-DISASTER RESISTANCE

Concrete is noncombustible and can contain a fire within boundaries. As a separation wall, precast concrete helps prevent fire from spreading throughout a building or jumping from building to building. Precast concrete is resistant to wind, hurricanes, and floods.

AIR INFILTRATION

Precast concrete panels have negligible air infiltration. Minimizing air infiltration between panels and at floors and ceilings will provide a building with low air infiltration. These effects will lower energy costs and help prevent moisture problems.

ABUNDANT, LOCAL MATERIALS

Concrete is used in almost every country of the world as a basic building material. Aggregates, about 85% of concrete content, are generally low-energy, local, naturally occurring sand and stone. Most precast concrete plants are within 500 miles of a building site. Using local materials reduces the transportation required to ship heavy building materials, and the associated energy and emissions.

INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Concrete contains low VOCs. Exposed concrete walls do not require finishing materials, eliminating particulates from sanding drywall taping seams.

MITIGATING THE URBAN HEAT-ISLAND EFFECT

Precast concrete provides reflective surfaces that minimize the urban heat-island effect.

inedibility

Vermin and insects cannot destroy concrete because it is inedible.

Resistance to Noise

Precast concrete walls provide a buffer between outdoor noise and the indoor environment.


Source: Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute