MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub

MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub

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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

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#Hurricane repairs disproportionately burden socially vulnerable communities according to new #research by @ipekbensu, the first quantitative analysis of its kind. Read the brief: http://bit.ly/3FfbjiH

Carbon emissions monitoring tools are beginning to pinpoint individual facilities, rather than countries, as sources for pollution. In his @nytimes op-ed, @dwallacewells describes an emerging "carbon surveillance state." https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/16/opinion/environment/surveillance-state-climate-change.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare

Is waste glass the solution to improve the #sustainability of #concrete?

@CSHub_MIT's latest research brief explores the possibility of using waste glass as a supplementary cementitious material (SCM) in concrete.

https://bit.ly/3h4bl3t

New this year, stop by the Research and Innovation Hub to learn about cutting-edge research/products from the @CPTechCenter, @CSHub_MIT, @nrmca, Pavement Technology, Inc., and Flores Automation & Machine Control (FAMC).

Register here: https://2022meeting.acpa.org/

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