MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub

MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub

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Carbon-neutral pavements are possible by 2050…
Carbon-neutral pavements are possible by 2050…
If government and industry actors come together to accelerate currently available solutions and pursue carbon capture technologies. Considering the performance limits, more than half of the material’s decarbonization way can be achieved without any innovative technologies. In addition to construction materials, achieving carbon neutrality in the pavement life cycle requires more than just materials. A range of use-phase components, including albedo, pavement-vehicle interaction, carbon uptake, and end-of-life opportunities, can provide significant opportunities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the life cycle of pavements.
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The deadliest natural hazard in the United States is…
The deadliest natural hazard in the United States is…

Extreme heat. Between 1992 and 2021, it killed an average of 148 people every year. In the same 30-year period, floods killed about 88 annually while hurricanes killed 45 yearly. Cities can combat extreme heat and cool the climate by implementing more reflective pavements, surfaces high in albedo, a measure of reflectance that ranges from 0 (reflects no sunlight) to 1 (reflects all sunlight): Think of the deepest black and the brightest white as comparable to each end of the spectrum.

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12 million tons of waste glass…
12 million tons of waste glass…

Are produced in the United States annually. Just 33% of it is recycled for new glass production. However, waste glass has an alternative, currently unexploited value: it can be used as a supplementary cementitious material (SCM) in concrete.

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In the United States, infrastructure damage caused by natural hazards…
In the United States, infrastructure damage caused by natural hazards…

Exceeds 50 billion annually, with losses from earthquakes, hurricanes, and fire averaging around $6 billion, $28 billion, and $15 billion, respectively. And, moreover, these costs are trending upward. Such worsening losses, in both their social and economic dimensions, have shifted modern engineering attention towards resilience, which is the ability of infrastructure to recover to a similar or higher functionality level after hazard-induced damage.

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The consequences of America’s ailing infrastructure…
The consequences of America’s ailing infrastructure…

Are numerous. Besides causing uncomfortable ride quality, they can impose higher maintenance costs and even increase fuel consumption. Annually, poor roads in the U.S. cause vehicles to consume an extra 0.5 billion gallons of diesel and 1.6 billion gallons of gasoline. This extra fuel consumption amounts to 6.2 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per mile.

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The U.S. pavement network…
The U.S. pavement network…

Can absorb 5.8 million tons of CO2 (around 5.5% of emitted CO2 from the cement used in pavements) over the next 30 years. The carbon uptake proportion of the use and end-of-life phase are in the same order. End of life abatement could be more cost-effective than carbon capture, use, and sequestration, with median costs ranging from $25–100/ton CO2 in the United States.

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The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub makes key impacts in three areas:

Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutral concrete is possible. Solutions are available today, and new ones are being developed for the future. One of the major goals of MIT CSHub is to help realize a carbon neutral concrete industry.

Infrastructure

Effective, sustainable infrastructure spending can improve system performance and impact climate change. MIT CSHub investigates how low carbon infrastructure may be built with very finite resources. 

Resilience

The risk of hazards like natural disasters and extreme heat is underestimated. Stronger construction to mitigate it is undervalued. MIT CSHub studies how cities can be made more resilient to hazards through investment in stronger, cooler construction.

Our mission:

The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) is a dedicated interdisciplinary team of researchers from several departments across MIT working on concrete and infrastructure science, engineering, and economics since 2009. The MIT CSHub brings together leaders from academia, industry, and government to develop breakthroughs using a holistic approach that will achieve durable and sustainable homes, buildings, and infrastructure in ever more demanding environments.

Why study concrete sustainability?

More concrete is produced than any other material on Earth. In the foreseeable future, there is no other material that can replace concrete to meet our societies’ needs for housing, shelter, schools, and infrastructure. Concrete is produced from abundant raw materials locally available almost everywhere on earth. It is an inexpensive construction material with a relatively small environmental footprint, but its attractive properties have lead to massive use that contributes approximately 5% of global CO2 production.

News

Social Media

We are excited to announce our new #YouTube series, "What's the Matter With...?", where we interview #industry professionals and researchers to explore topics ranging from #ancient Roman #concrete to #pavement performance. Watch the first three episodes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0XpdN6qkCQ&list=PLxQD2XzIB2HR-WZrPmGPeypVNWFtzMl8X&ab_channel=CSHubMIT

The upcoming carbon uptake webinar has been postponed until further notice. We look forward to getting a new date scheduled soon and apologize for the inconvenience.

The use of #concrete made possible a vault that spans 125 ft & supports a 25,000-sf hanging garden at Château Haut‐Bailly Winery, France. The project won 1st place in Low-Rise Structures in @ConcreteACI’s 2022 Excellence in Concrete #Construction Awards.
http://ow.ly/brSG50MCA6p

.@hessam_aj presented at @payettepeople's YDC Knowledge Series today, where he discussed the significance of #carbonuptake in assessing building and pavement #lifecycle impacts. #Architect decisions significantly influence the ability of #concrete structures to sequester #CO2.

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