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Environment focus at heart of concrete flooring ideas

New concrete flooring innovations could help the environment by reducing carbon emissions and waste.

One issue with concrete surfaces is that they can crack. It has been estimated that replacing damaged cement contributes to 7% of the world’s total carbon emissions. For this reason, researchers at Bath University are developing self-healing concrete.

After water has been poured on it, bacteria are present in the concrete that produce limestone that seals any cracks. This also stops oxygen entering and prevents steel reinforcements eroding.

Many concrete floors are in areas with heavy footfall. Tech company PaveGen has developed a system of harnessing the energy of footsteps to generate electricity. Electromagnetic induction devices are embedded in the concrete, and the energy generated by people’s footsteps is converted to electricity, which is stored in batteries ready for use. PaveGen installed its system underneath the football pitch in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and generated enough electricity from the players’ movement during matches to power the pitch floodlights.

Another innovation is modular construction where sections of a building are constructed offsite then fitted together to form the building. These modular sections have concrete flooring. This system reduces the equipment and materials needed on-site and produces very little waste. It also produces less noise and activity to disturb people near the construction site. A 57-storey skyscraper in China was constructed using modular units and took only 19 days to construct.

New sustainable concrete flooring innovations reduce levels of carbon footprint and waste and could be part of the solution to global warming.

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