Building on the previous post concerning the benefits of concrete over asphalt, we’d like to expand on the environmental benefits of concrete, especially when focusing on parking areas or driveways. Some of the most recognized benefits are:
- Reduced Energy for Lighting
A study has given a 33%-50% reflective difference between concrete pavement and its darker counterpart (R.E. Stark Portland Cement Association, 1986). This means that less nighttime lighting is needed in areas paved with concrete, reducing the cost of electricity and light bulbs.
- Reduction in Energy for Maintenance and Repair
It is easy to recognize the cost savings when factoring in less maintenance and repair. But the secondary benefits are just that–less energy used for less maintenance and repair. You are cutting out the energy used by the plants to manufacture the extra material for maintenance and the energy used by the maintenance equipment themselves. “Smaller footprint” is a term coined to explain this minimized impact on the environment.
- Reduced Heat Island Effect
This refers to the impact of urban sprawl. NASA even has studied the amount of heat created by growth and mentions in their articles that using light colored roads and rooftops will help mitigate the situation. Secondary is the amount of air conditioning you need during the hot weather to combat this increase in reflective heat.
- Concrete Can Contain Recycled Material
Fly ash, burnt furnace slag and silica fume are all by-products of other industries that can be used to enhance the properties of concrete. (Some of these cementitious materials are similar to the volcanic ashes the Romans mixed with lime to obtain their cement binder. Some of these structures still exist today!) Water and aggregates are also being recycled increasingly in concrete production.
- Concrete Does Not Use Wasteful Packaging Materials
Concrete arrives in a ready mix truck with no boxes, shrink wrap, pallets, or containers that end up in a landfill.
It is important to consider all the benefits of concrete and the impact of your decision. Call us for an estimate today!
Many times when people consider paving their driveway they believe concrete will be too expensive compared to blacktop so they don’t even bother getting a quote. This is a mistake. Concrete is closer in cost to asphalt than you would think. Not only that, it has benefits that save you money over the years in maintenance and time:
A concrete driveway is a symbol of quality. It is a great investment. A concrete driveway should last a home owner at least 30 years, while other paving options frequently will need to be replaced every ten years. By the time one factors in how much longer a concrete driveway lasts and how little maintenance it requires, a concrete driveway is not only cost competitive, it is clearly the better bargain. Once cured and sealed, a concrete driveway is virtually impervious to the weather. Snow is easily removed. Potholes and ruts will not develop, eliminating puddles. It will not get soft in the heat or allow tar to be tracked into the home. A concrete driveway will also brighten the welcome to the home at night as its light color will reflect available light, creating a safer environment around the home.
(Wisconsin Ready Mixed Concrete Association)
Beyond costs, the Wisconsin Ready Mix Concrete Association reports about concrete’s environmental benefits, “Concrete is produced locally from some of the world’s most abundant natural resources and without toxic byproducts. Concrete can be made with reclaimed industrial materials that would otherwise burden landfills. Recycled materials in concrete reduce CO2 emissions. At the end of a concrete building or pavement’s usable life, concrete can be recycled.”
So before deciding you can’t afford to install concrete, ask yourself, can you afford not to? Plus, our estimates are free!
You are hiring for a project and know you should get at least three estimates. Here a few more tips when you get those quotes:
James Loback, American Concrete, finishes a parking lot.
- When comparing estimates, it is important to take the time to ask specifically what is or is not included in the price. We try to be as detailed as possible with our estimates, and just because American Concrete, Inc., includes something in our quote does not necessarily mean the competitor with the vague description includes it also. If you see it in our quote and not the competition’s, ask them if they included it in their price so you know what they are really quoting you.
- Ask for references!! And call them! Established companies will have satisfied customers willing to vouch for their work. If a contractor cannot provide these for you, this may indicate a problem.
- It is important to sign a contract with a contractor to protect each party, no matter the job size. That way, there is no confusion in what is expected to be done.
- Check Wisconsin’s Better Business Bureau Website for ratings or complaints against a contractor.