Sustainability is a topic that will continue to influence the way we are building as well as maintaining and renovating buildings. Building materials like concrete for a long time have had the image of being bad from an sustainability perspective. But this might actually change.
Now there is good news from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona. Researches from this institute have found a creative solution to lower CO2 emissions. Their solution , a sort of green concrete, not only lowers the emissions, but als regulates heat and has a very aesthetically appealing nature. They have developed a way to build with a type of concrete that allows for its surface to be covered with mosses, lichens, fungi and other biological organisms.
In certain areas of the world, especially those area’s with a calm mediterranean climate, the green concrete can absorb CO2 and release oxygen with micro-algae and the other “pigmented microorganisms” that coat the concrete. These vertical gardens can actually “paint“ the buildings green, but the biological concrete’s benefit lies in its innovative layered design.
The top layer of the construction absorbs and stores rainwater and grows the microorganisms underneath. A second layer of the concrete repels water to keep the internal structure safe. In addition, the top absorbs solar radiation to insulate the building and regulate inside temperatures.
The institute in aiming to improve on their desing in such a way that the appearance of the façades constructed with the new material should evolve over time, showing changes of colour according to the time of year.”
So the next time your complex has to do maintenance of even needs to renovate some of the constructional area’s, perhaps it might be an idea to think green and consider solutions like this new concrete and color part of it with mosses or other micro-organism.