In the wake of COVID-19, return-to-the-workplace protocols have underscored the need for healthy building interiors, with an emphasis on better-managed air quality, ample space to support social distancing, and so on. But the need for environmentally healthy structures existed long before the pandemic. Designing and constructing buildings with more sustainable materials contributes not only to overall personal health but also to the health of the planet.
Around the globe, buildings generate nearly 40% of greenhouse gas missions. And cement—the ingredient in concrete that makes it so strong and durable—is one of the biggest culprits. Cement production is the third-largest source of CO2 in the world. While concrete is one of the foundations of modern construction, significant innovation is underway to develop alternative, sustainable construction materials that emit little or no carbon or even remove or sequester atmospheric carbon.