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Technical Brief
 
 
Bahai Temple concrete green design

The Baha'i Temple, constructed of precast white concrete panels with exposed quartz aggregate, is a tribute to detail and workmanship. (PCA No. 15917)

In the “3 R’s” hierarchy, the first principle is reduce. Less is more. Small is beautiful. While decorative finishes are wonderful and add beauty and comfort to our world, each layer of material we add uses more natural resources, and the energy and additional resources needed to harvest or extract the raw materials, process and transport them. It adds up. While all this activity helps drive the economy, sustainability is all about balance. Reducing the scale and rate of resource consumption, by reducing what we use, when it makes sense, helps achieve that balance.

 

Bahai Temple concrete green design

Walkway pavers (PCA No. 5076)

Concrete’s ability to serve as both structure and finish allows you to reduce the number and quantity of different materials required for a project, without sacrificing aesthetics or comfort. Concrete has boundless architectural options from clean vertical lines to intricate ornamentation. Concrete can be formed or manufactured in any shape or color and in a range of textures. The finish of driveways, sidewalks, patios and other flatwork, as well as walls can be exposed aggregate to provide texture. Flatwork can be stamped to simulate stone or pavers, or stained to provide rich color. Formwork can provide texture for ready mix concrete. Concrete is used to customize designs, patterns, emblems, or ornaments.
 
Parking Garage (PCA No. 12474)

Parking Garage (PCA No. 12474)

Interior and exterior walls and floors in particular can be installed and finished in a wide range of decorative options, eliminating or reducing the need for additional flooring, cladding or coatings.
 
While LEED doesn’t current award points for minimizing material use, several green home building rating programs do. Nonetheless using concrete as a finish material can save money, reduce maintenance and repair, contribute to cleaner indoor air (fewer places for allergens and mold to take up residence), and offers many unique and beautiful design capabilities.
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Resources
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Located at BookstoreBob Harris' Guide to Stained Concrete Floors (2004)
Bob Harris, Decorative Concrete Institute, Item Code LT283, 100 pages
Guide to Stained Concrete Floors is a 100-page, full-color resource with detailed information and practical tips on staining concrete interior floors. This publication is available for $35 at the Portland Cement Association Bookstore.
Located at BookstoreBob Harris' Guide to Stamped Concrete (2004)
Bob Harris, Decorative Concrete Institute, Item Code LT284, 144 pages
Available for $45. The guide covers topics of vital importance for anyone planning to stamp concrete, including: - Nine sources for stamping design ideas - Maximizing your profits by knowing what to charge - Concrete mix considerations for stamping concrete - Site conditions affecting stamped concrete work and how to prepare or avoid them - How to prepare concrete for stamping, including tips for striking off and finishing - Three important steps to applying color hardener - Tools that are essential for successful stamping - How and when to start stamping - Important issues to avoid when stamping - Fixing minor flaws in stamped concrete work - Effective techniques for the application of sealers - 10 ways to promote and sell your stamped concrete work - How to distinguish your stamped concrete work from competitors
Located at BookstoreFinishing Concrete with Color and Texture (2004)
Steven H. Kosmatka and Terry C. Collins, Portland Cement Association, Item Code PA124, 72 pages
Available for $35. This publication is a basic guide for planning and constructing decorative concrete surfaces on concrete slabs. While intended primarily for concrete contractors, it also will be useful to concrete finishers, concrete finishers apprentices, homebuilders, general contractors, architects, engineers, landscape architects, homeowners, vocational education students, specification writers, inspectors, and many others.
Located at BookstorePolished concrete outshines other flooring options (2006)
Environmental Building News, Volume 15, Number 2
Article requires subscription (weekly subscriptions available for $12.95). Stone-polishing techniques and mineralizing treatments are turning concrete into one of the most functional, most cost-effective, and greenest flooring options around. In this feature article, Alex Wilson explores the ups and downs of polished, densified concrete.
Located at BookstorePortland Cement Plaster/Stucco Manual (2003)
Portland Cement Association, Item Code EB049, 72 pages
Available for $25. This completely updated how-to guide and technical manual contains everything you need to know about plastering and stucco. This Fifth Edition contains essential information on materials, bases, mixes, hand and machine applications, and curing and is illustrated with numerous color photos. A glossary of plastering terms, a tool list, a troubleshooting guide, and a guide specification are included. Featuring the latest ASTM and CSA standards, this is an excellent resource for architects, engineers, specifiers, inspectors, contractors, plasterers,and apprentices.
Download DocumentConcrete Homes Technology Brief - Concrete Roof Tiles (2005)
Portland Cement Assocation, #IS315, 2 pages.
Available for free. Description: This Tech Brief (No. 16) is designed in a single page format and written in a non-technical style intended to inform the building industry and consumers of the value of concrete roof tiles. Concrete roof tiles most often last the lifetime of a house, typically carrying a limited lifetime, non-pro-rated, transferable warranty. They are Class A fire rated and resistant to damage from hail and high winds. Concrete roof tiles have grown more competitive in price, due in part to the rising costs of petroleum-based products such as asphalt shingles. Concrete roof tiles are available in many styles and color options.
Download DocumentPortland Cement Plaster (Stucco)...A Hard System to Beat (1998)
Portland Cement Association, #PA395, 4 pages
Available for free. Traditional portland cement plaster is a time-tested exterior finish. It consists of portland cement-based materials and sand, mixed with water to form a workable plaster. Portland cement, the same material that is the basis for the hardened properties of concrete used to build super-highways, bridges, and skyscrapers - provides strength, durability, and toughness in portland cement plaster. Portland cement plaster can be applied to frame, concrete, and concrete masonry construction. For strength, beauty, durability, and versatility look to traditional portland cement plaster.
Download DocumentResidential Technology Brief: Fiber Cement Siding (2004)
Portland Cement Association, #IS314, 2 pages.
Available for free. Fiber cement siding provides a traditional wood grain appearance without the drawbacks associated with wood. It is available in a variety of textures, profiles, and colors to match your design requirements. Fiber cement manufacturers offer complete systems for siding, decorative shapes, soffit, and trim applications. This remarkable product is manufactured under rigorous factory specifications and guidelines, providing consistent quality and excellent dimensional stability.
Download DocumentThe Art of Concrete (2001)
Portland Cement Association. Item Code: PL721
Available for free. White and colored concrete made with white cement have numerous applications, from cast-in-place to precast to tilt-up. This attractive brochure highlights the benefits of this versatile material, which can be used for decorative and structural purposes.
Download DocumentThe Energy Saver in Concrete and Masonry Buildings
Environmental Council of Concrete Organizations, #EV 12, 4 pages
Available for free. This four-page bulletin describes Construction Technology Laboratories’ research on heat absorption and energy consumption in concrete and other high-mass building materials, and the role that thermal mass can play in building design. It describes the energy-saving benefits of this process, as well as the impact of thermal mass research on the evolution of energy conservation standards.
Download DocumentVersatility of Concrete (2001)
Portland Cement Association. Item Code: PL720
Available for free. This promotional brochure is filled with ideas for enhancing any residential property with attractive concrete products made with white cement.
Located at External Web SiteGreen Roofs for Healthy Cities (2005)
Green Roof Industry Association