It ain’t pretty but…

By jesse


It is a significant truth that what often draws the most attention in the design and architecture community is the loudest visual, so to speak, in the room.  Of course there is a very real difference between audacity and lunacy in design aesthetics, but both the truly avant-garde and the insane will garner sizable attention.   For better or worse, fortune favors the bold.

It is then with nerdish pleasure that I draw attention to a truly unflashy, if vitally important, development in the world’s most common building material: cement.  Material Connexion — a world-renowned group of polymath experts intent on bridging the gap between science, design, and manufacturing — have recently awarded their MEDIUM Award for Material of the Year to cement producers Novacem for their Carbon Negative Cement.  That’s right, not carbon neutral, carbon negative.

Novacem’s new cement offers similar performance and price to standard Portland cement, but instead of emitting 800 kg of CO2 per ton poured, Novacem actually absorbs 50 kg per ton poured.

Just how big a deal is that?  Consider that cement is the most prevalent man-made material on the planet, and that it is responsible for 5% of humanity’s total carbon footprint.  The cement industry is second only to power generation in terms of CO2 emitted.  The 850 kg of CO2 saved per ton of Novacem poured quickly adds up.

So yes, we all like to look at very, very pretty things.  But advancements in the building blocks, literally, of  visually stunning projects are just as important to the design and architecture communities.

More than meets the eye...

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