We are constantly seeking ways to help our customers build more sustainable structures and, in doing so, reduce their-and our-environmental impacts. While concrete's properties make it a good choice for building more energy-efficient structures that need little or no maintenance over their useful lives, we work through our Global Center for Technology and Innovation to develop new and innovative products that contribute to more sustainable built environments and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the process.
We recently launched our Rizal Green cement, an all-purpose masonry cement that can be used for both masonry works and semi-structural projects such as driveways, fences, and ground-floor slabs for residential construction. The result of more than two years of laboratory and market research, Rizal Green has a patented formulation that reduces CO2 emissions by up to 32% when used as a substitute for ordinary Portland cement in masonry works.
Researchers in Spain have developed a new multilayer concrete that is able to support plant life providing a range of benefits including regulating temperature inside buildings.
The cement and ready mixed concrete industry has bee keen to embrace novel ways of improving the environment and this latest development will be of particular interest.
Developed by researchers at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain, the new concrete acts as a medium for growth and a construction material.
Created for a Mediterranean climate, the biological concrete is composed of three layers placed on a structural base. The first is a waterproofing layer on top of the structural foundation, which protects against moisture damage.
The next is the biological layer, which supports colonisation of organisms like moss and drought-tolerant vegetation. These acts as an internal microstructure that also aids in water retention.
The final layer is a discontinuous coating with a reverse waterproofing that allows water to seep through and keep it inside the concrete. As well as providing an unusual and attractive way to renovate a home or office, the concrete has applications in air purification and CO2 reduction. It can also absorb solar radiation, helping to regulate temperature inside the building.
US scientists have discovered a new way to make lime cement that's less harmful to the environment.
Researchers at George Washington University have harnessed concentrated solar thermal power as part of a technique that could cut the cost of production and release zero carbon dioxide.
Estimates suggest cement manufacture contributes around 5% of total greenhouse gas emissions: the second single largest source after coal-fuelled power plants.
The new process harnesses concentrated solar thermal power to avoid generating CO2 during the two main stages of the production process.
So far, the team has built a prototype, which proves the process can work and the next stage is to take it to an industrial scale.
However, some industry experts have warned that although the process seemed to be "really good" the localised nature of much cement production, using local limestone rocks, might not encourage its take-up.
Despite this many producers of cement, ready mixed concrete and other aggregates products are constantly looking at new ways to reduce their carbon footprint and wider environmental impact.
Its owners want to make sure that roads are kept safe for everyone who is using them, and companies are taking on a leadership role in that regard.
All cyclists on the road should follow these basic safety rules to lower the risk of being involved in an accident:
1. Always wear a helmet.
Properly-fitted head protection greatly reduces the risk of injury or a fatality. A helmet should fit level on the head, and the pads should be level all the way around. The strap should be comfortably snug without feeling tight.
2. Wear bright clothing to be visible to others on the road.
Other road users include drivers and pedestrians, and it's important to be seen. Wear bright or fluorescent clothing in daylight and low light conditions. Reflective clothing should be worn at night. When traveling by bicycle at night, in the rain, or when the sky is overcast, make a point of using a light. It will make the bicycle much easier to spot.
3. Stay well away from the kerb.
Cyclists should give themselves space on the left and not feel pressured to move close to the kerb if a driver behind them becomes impatient. Moving further into the road means a cyclist will be able to avoid most drain covers and roadside debris. It's also an effective strategy for helping drivers to know when it's safe to pass them.
4. Use hand signals to make intentions clear to other road users.
Use standard bicycle hand signals to clearly indicate turns and stops well in advance. Cyclists should always look over their shoulder before while indicating with one hand what their intention is. It's a good idea to practice these hand signals while off the bike to get familiar with them before venturing out on the road.
5. Make eye contact with drivers.
Be aware of other road users. Make eye contact with drivers as a way to let them know that they have been seen. Cyclists should also make a point of making eye contact with pedestrians who are crossing the road as a way to lower the risk of a collision.
Cardiff University has been involved in developing a system using microbes embedded in concrete. These microbes spark into life once water enters a crack.
The water triggers the microbes to produce limestone deposits plugging the crack before water and oxygen can corrode steel reinforcements inside.
At the same time the newly developed concrete, which has also involved researchers from Cambridge and Bath Universities, will use specially developed polymer tendons that can be activated to shrink and close gaps.
A major construction company is now planning to trial the prototype self-healing concrete as part of a project to create an in-built concrete immune system.
The experimental concrete will be fitted with special bacteria contained in protective microcapsules that can be added to the original mix.
The university researchers will work with the company and other stakeholders, including the Highways Agency and the Welsh Government, to test and develop the idea.
Andrea Green, project manager, is reported as saying self-healing concrete could be a game changer for the industry with the potential to enhance durability, improve safety and dramatically reduce maintenance costs.
US space agency Nasa has began accepting applications from private companies who want to launch mining operations on the moon.
It is inviting offers from potential business partners to help design and build lunar prospecting robots - the first major step required to explore Earth's natural satellite for valuable resources.
Nasa is looking for partners after the US government refused to provide any funding for the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown programme (Catalyst).
This sets it apart from the agency's deals with other private companies to deliver supplies to the International Space Station that are supported by public funding.
Jason Crusan, director of Nasa's advanced exploration systems, is reported as saying that mining the moon was far from just the stuff of fantasy.
Recent missions had already revealed evidence of water and other substances of interest on the moon's surface but to understand the extent and accessibility of these resources, Nasa needs to reach the surface and explore up close.
Companies with billions of dollars to spare and a novel idea on the best way to explore the moon for minerals, have until March 17 to submit their proposals.