Reducing construction’s impact on environment with alternatives to cement blocks


Saving the environment is a serious issue and the first thing we need to do is reduce our carbon footprint. Apart from reducing usage of our car, saving electricity and using recyclable products, we also need to look at how our houses are constructed. One of the main ingredients of any house construction is cement, which comes with a huge carbon footprint of its own. Construction in general is one of the most intensive processes, and has a huge carbon footprint. Let us now look at some of the alternative solution that we have.

concrete blocks used in construction

Recycled concrete and crushed rock blocks

In any building construction, a large CO2 footprint owed mainly to the concrete blocks used in construction. Cement is the main constituent of these concrete blocks and its production attributes to 6% of the total CO2 emissions in the world. Now alternative solutions are available such as blocks created using recycled concrete, crushed rock, and soil.

The benefit of these new blocks is that they use less cement, have good LEED rating, low carbon footprint and appear like natural stone. In this technique, the natural process through which rocks are formed is replicated in a new manufacturing technology. Pressure is applied on soil blends for producing structural blocks with similar strength as that of concrete, while spending 65% less energy as compared to concrete blocks.

The durability and stability of these blocks can be judged from the fact that a house built in Napa, California using these new blocks was not affected by an earthquake with its epicenter only a few miles from where the house is located. The house did not suffer any major structural damages and nothing happened to the things inside the house as well.

Low carbon concrete blocks

Low carbon concrete blocks

There are also low carbon concrete (LCC) blocks that have lower embodied CO2, where embodied CO2 refers to amount of CO2 emissions during manufacturing, transportation and construction process. In case these LCC blocks are used in construction of a building then it can result in saving as much as ten tones of CO2, which is same as not using your car for more than two years!


There are alternatives available to cement which are durable as well as strong, and can be easily used to replace cement during construction to make a house that is eco-friendly and sturdy. Both LCC blocks and Stone blocks are good substitutes for cement which every house owner and builder should consider.

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