There is no doubt that the most skepticism and wariness about sustainable technologies will happen here, at the foundation. As with any change, the underlying assumption — the “foundation” — is the hardest to change. Yet this is the place that most needs changing.
Pre-cast concrete blocks (concrete masonry units or CMUs) — Formed and cured off site, CMUs are delivered to a site and mortared together. CMUs feature hollow cores that can be filled with concrete to provide structural support.
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Pre-cast concrete panels — Modular panels are custom formed and cured off site and installed by boom truck or crane.
Ecosystem impacts: Check regional practices for aggregate quarries, as impacts can vary widely. Consider the use of recycled aggregate or urbanite to mitigate impacts.
Embodied carbon: Cement production is a major contributor to climate change and concrete will contribute significantly to the carbon footprint of your building. Developments in low-carbon, carbon-sequestering, and microbial concrete may change this, but most of these products are currently prototypes and not widely available.
Energy efficiency: Insulation will need to be added to most concrete foundations, and the full criteria implications of the insulation strategy must be carefully considered.