Sustainability of precast structures

Optimization in service life

The production of precast concrete elements normally takes place under controlled climatic conditions in enclosed factories. This makes control of waste, emissions, noise levels, etc. easy compared to the same process at a traditional building site. Working environment is also easily controlled. Moreover the use of new technologies like self-compacting concrete (SCC) can significantly reduce the noise and vibration in the production process. The use of high performance concrete (HPC) enables design and production of more reliable and more durable structures with optimized shape. The potential for savings in structural material consumption and consequently natural resources is evident. The environmental burden of prefabrication is mainly the burden caused by the raw materials of concrete (especially production of cement and steel) which is similar as other concrete construction structures but in a reduced way because of the reduced use of materials in comparison with in situ construction. In prefabrication the environmental burden caused by raw materials is approximately one third larger than that caused by the production process of the elements, as indicated by the examples of environmental product declarations. The thermal inertia of heavy materials is well known for both in warm and cold climates. Most people have experienced the comfort of coming into a comparatively cool stone building on a hot day in a warm climate. In precast structures several constructive systems have been developed using this characteristic.

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