Achieving environment sustainability with bio concrete innovation in the construction technology
Buildings have been one of the major enablers of progress and development for human civilisations all across the world. In this current scenario however, with rising populations and rising global temperatures, efforts need to be made to understand the effects of the current construction practices on the environment.
This has given rise to the concept of adopting sustainability practices in the construction industry, and bio concrete technology has been found as one of the preeminent choices for enabling this.
The proposed research will analyse the importance of bio concrete innovation in the field of construction technology for ensuring environmental sustainability.
The literature review will delve into understanding the academic perspective of incorporating sustainability practices in the construction industry and the applicability of bio concrete to enable sustainable practices in the industry.
There is ample research into the mechanics and uses of bio concrete; however, there exists a research gap regarding the analysis of the practical application of bio concrete in real-world scenarios.
This paper, through the use of a deductive approach, will aim to generate hypothesis from the current academic literature and test them both qualitatively and quantitatively through this research.
The results thus obtained will be helpful in designing applicable recommendations regarding the sustainable use of bio concrete in the construction industry
Keywords: Bio Concrete, Sustainability, Construction Industry, Construction Technology
As defined in Yilmaz and Bakis (2015), sustainability refers to the use of “natural resources in such an equilibrium condition that they do not reach decay, depletion and unrenewable point and handing down the next generations by developing them.”
Osso, et al. (1996) had also highlighted the importance of sustainability practices as a means of ensuring the survival of generations in the following centuries by protecting the natural environment.
The major concept behind the development of sustainability is the development of materials and process which changes our consumption habits while maintaining or improving the quality of life (Yilmaz and Bakis, 2015).
Buildings have been one of the most crucial aspects of the survival and development of human civilisation.
However, various aspects of these buildings including its construction, operation and maintenance and destruction can have environmental implications. According to Vyas, et al. (2014), buildings consume a large number of resources and energy and can have a significant impact on the environment by directly or indirectly affecting the quality of air and water.
According to Dixon (2010), 10 per cent of the solid waste generation, 40 per cent of water pollution, 23 per cent of air pollution and 50 per cent of the greenhouse production in the cities are caused by buildings.
These problems caused by the construction industry can be greatly reduced by a change in approach and application (Yilmaz and Bakis, 2015).
The purpose of this research is to evaluate the aspect of innovations in the field of bio concrete innovations and understand its implications in achieving environmental sustainability for the construction industry.
In addition to that, the paper will also analyse the current academic and industry understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the technology.
Understanding how the technology of bio concrete can contribute to a more sustainable standard of practice in the construction industry shall also be pursued in this paper.
Sev (2009) define environmental sustainability as “giving the world to future generation better than taken, protecting the ecological balance and natural systems from destruction.”
To a large extent, the sustainability of a resource is dependent on the natural rate of renewal of that resource and such needs to be taken special care of while developing sustainability projections (Yilmaz and Bakis, 2015).
Patel and Chugan (2013), therefore suggest that in determining the sustainable usage levels for natural resources it must be taken into consideration that their rate of usage does not exceed the rates of their renewal or the rates at which these resources are cleared of contaminants.
Hoskara (2007) suggest the following six parameters that need to be considered when considering sustainable use of any given resource – “Protection of aliveness and diversity on the earth”; “Conservation of life-support systems”; “Sustainable usage of renewable resources”; “Being saving in using unrenewable resources”; “Minimizing harm to the environment and living things” and “Protection of cultural and historical environments.”
Self – Healing Bio Concrete as a Sustainability Measure
Concrete remains one of the most widely used substances in the construction industry and its durability can be hampered through the formation of cracks during shrinkage or flexure (Innovative Solutions, 2012).
These cracks allow moisture to get into the steel structures and cause corrosion of the material. One way to passively solve this problem that has been developed recently has been that of bio concrete.
These use bacteria that are called extremophiles, because of their ability to survive in extreme conditions. This method has been found to be beneficial both for the humans and the environment (Guo, et al., 2015).
The use of such bacteria reduces the need for adding extra cement to the mixture to create additional alkaline protection which would enable great savings in terms of CO2 emissions from the cement factories.
The use of bioagents could also help in lowering the CO2 emissions more directly, thus enabling the integration of biological materials and processes into traditional engineering processes thereby fostering sustainability practices as well.
Several studies into the use of microbes in concrete as a self – healing agent have been done (Majumdar, et al., 2012; George, et al., 2012; Qian and Luo, 2013), however, there still remains a gap in understanding of the degree of environmental sustainability that it will provide, and as such, this research aims to fill that gap.
How innovation in bio concrete technology can help in achieving environmental sustainability in the construction industry?
Advances in bio concrete technology are directly related to ensuring environmental sustainability in the construction sector. Even slight advancements in the field of sustainable bio concrete can have significant positive ramifications in terms of environmental sustainability.
The proposed research study will aim to understand the intricacies of bio concrete technology and evaluate its impact in advancing environmental sustainability in the field of construction. In order to accomplish the set goals, the paper will undertake the following tasks:
- i) Perform a systematic review of the existing academic literature to understand the principles of environmental sustainability applied to the field of construction.
- ii) Analyse the barriers to the developmental process and how those barriers can be overcome for bio concrete development.
The proposed research will adopt a qualitative methodology that encompasses a multiple case study strategy.
The data collection will be aided through the use of open-ended interview techniques.
In addition to these, the literature review will analyse various case studies involving bio concrete use and applicability and review the impacts on environmental sustainability.
The accompanying practical research will help to understand the actual limitations in the applicability of the technology for real-world solutions at its current state and also highlight potential for future growth in the field.
The research will be an exploratory study that will primarily understand the current scope of the bio concrete technology and its applicability in the real world scenarios and secondarily analyse the importance of the technology for ensuring environmental sustainability in the field of construction.
Efforts will also be made to understand the effects of the use of bio concrete in modern construction practices into environmental sustainability.
Epistemology is a field of study which deals with the determination of what should be regarded as “acceptable knowledge” in any given field of study. There are four major epistemological viewpoints, namely, positivism, interpretivism, pragmatism and realism. (Bryman, 2015)
Cracks in the concrete structure have been known to be a negative influence on the working life of building for a long time (Guo, et al., 2015).
They can cause significant damage to the buildings including rusting on underlying steel structures.
One of the major aspects of study into solving this problem has been the development of bio concrete that can “self-heal” (Majumdar, et al., 2012; Lu and Chen, 2014).
These can significantly reduce the amount of resources and attention required for the maintenance of concrete structures in the prevention of catastrophic failures.
Bio concrete that has this ability of self – healing can not only lead to savings in the maintenance and repair costs but also eliminate to a large extent the initiation of corrosion in the underlying steel structure.
These can also improve the sustainability of concrete substantially by reducing the demand for natural resources and energy. (Innovative Solutions, 2012)
A deductive approach will be used for the study through which the existing research will be analysed to develop hypothesis applicable in the research area.
The subsequent research will aim to test the validity of the hypothesis through the use of empirical observations.
This approach has been deemed to be the most prudent because ample studies into the current state of bio concrete and sustainability requirements in the field of construction practices are available and review of such can help in developing specific hypothesis as to their inter – relativity.
The testing of the hypothesis will be aided by the primary and secondary data collection procedures.
Through the evaluation of the existing academic research in the field of bio concrete and its applicability in the field of developing sustainable construction practices,it would be possible to develop testable hypothesis into their degree of applicability and their inter – relativity.
Qualitative method allows for the analysis of non-numerical data that is collected from secondary sources or primary sources like interviews and surveys (Loehnert, 2010).
To identify the aspects of bio concrete that affect the sustainability parameters in construction a qualitative method has therefore been deemed to be the most prudent.
This will allow for a deeper understanding of the relevant concepts and considerations when understanding the applicability of bio concrete in real-world scenarios.
In addition to that for the empirical analysis of the structural benefits that bio concrete provides ad with the degree of impact, it can have on the use of resources a quantitative method will be used.
This will help in understanding the scope of environmental sustainability that innovation in the field of bio concrete can bring.
A balanced approach of both quantitative and qualitative methods will bring the most rounded results for the applicability of bio concrete in enhancing the environmental sustainability of buildings.
Limitations of the Study
The scope of the study is limited by the availability of resources of time and money and as such the study had underlying limitations.
The study is conducted in one region of the world, however, the sustainability standards and climatic variables may vary across the globe, which could render the results of this study non-replicable in other parts of the world.
Participation in the study will be sought through the proper channels after the supply of necessary consent forms.
No deception will be used with regards to the purpose, scope or methodology of the study with prospective participants.
All participants will be given the chance to notify the researchers their intent regarding the use of personal data and no breach of conduct will be undertaken during the course of this study.
The written consent form and agreement will be designed in accordance with the rules and guidelines set forth by the <insert university name>.
I had gained valuable learning experience during the preparation and writing of the research rationale and design proposal.
During the course of the research, I had learned about the pollution and strain on natural resources caused by the construction of buildings which are vital for human civilizations.
I have learned about the environmental damages caused due to construction and the manner in which sustainability can be achieved by innovation for using bio concrete in construction technology.
While completing this research, my perspectives on environmental sustainability had altered and bound me to think about the urgency of saving and protecting the non-renewable natural resources for ensuring sustainability and securing the earth and all life forms.
My viewpoints on issues such as carbon dioxide emissions from the construction industry have changed as I have been able to comprehend the harm it causes to the environment.
From the study, I have realised that self-healing bio concrete is an ideal solution for ensuring sustainability as it reduces the requirement of using excessive cement to the concrete mixture for enhancing alkaline protection for enhancement of durability.
I have realised that the use of bio agents like the extremophile bacteria can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the cement factories and promote sustainability practices in construction.
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George, R.P.; Vishwakarma, V. and Samal, S.S. (2012). “Current understanding and future approaches for controlling microbially influenced concrete corrosion: a review”, Concr. Res. Lett, 3, pp. 491-506.
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