18 Aug Supplement on Smart Cities: The contribution of precast concrete
Technological innovations and environmental awareness have laid the foundations for smart cities. But what is in fact a smart city? In essence, it is a model of sustainable development thanks to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (TICs). The goal is to create connected, modern and environmentally friendly cities. Faced with this new way of creating cities, the contribution of precast concrete to the development of smart cities is being very important.
It is an innovative and versatile material as the metropolis pursue to be. In this article, we propose a tour around the different solutions that precast concrete is providing to the main challenges concerning the cities of the near future.
CITIES WITH SUSTAINABLE STRUCTURES
According to the United Nations (UN), 70% of the world's population will live in cities by 2050. If we take this data into account, the challenges facing urban centers are many, namely: the cost of energy supply, the management of CO2 emissions or the provision of goods and raw materials. Beijing, New York, Berlin or Madrid are a clear example of how cities can be CO2 factories if measures are not taken to avoid it.
To face this challenge, the creation of green areas is not enough. Smart cities require structures reinforced with sustainable materials such as precast concrete. Can you imagine an infrastructure that does not give off carbon dioxide but rather gets rid of it? This infrastructure is called self-cleaning concrete and is composed of titanium dioxide.
Its ability to activate the oxygen molecules present in the air causes a photo catalytic reaction. In a word, it transforms CO2 into harmless elements. Following this same line, the creation of pathogen-free surfaces is becoming more and more frequent. Thanks to the use of precast concrete panels such as Glassydur's modular ones, we facilitate safe and healthy environments.
As we can appreciate, the contribution of precast concrete to the development of smart cities is offering very varied urban solutions. These range from improving air quality to creating areas that enhance the health and life of citizens.
“What drives and drags the world are not machines, but ideas”, Poet and writer Victor Hugo.
In a globalized and highly connected world, energy has become a fundamental resource. Without it, life seems to stop: nothing works. For this reason, having unlimited sources of energy is being the goal towards which the institutions are dedicating their greatest efforts.
Installing solar energy panels on the roofs of buildings is no longer enough. It is still necessary to advance a little more: to achieve sustainable and efficient buildings. Did you know that precast concrete allows you to minimize energy by 15% and reduce your carbon footprint? Due to its fire retardant characteristics, the contribution of precast concrete in this area is remarkable. With its use, we avoid the waste and misuse of this precious commodity.
When using concrete, the energy does not escape, but neither does it enter: it is thermal-insulating and waterproof. This achieves greater thermal stability in buildings by reducing sudden changes in temperature inside.
A successful example can be seen at GF Victoria Hotel thanks to the use of green roofs made with GlassyDur Rocalla: a precast concrete panel that imitates natural stone. With its use, the facility reduced heating consumption by 20% and air conditioning consumption by 70%. These are practical solutions to problems that until now seemed complex, but with the contribution of precast concrete, they became possible.
SMART AND SAFE CITIES
Human activity has accelerated the consequences of climate change, a problem that continues to worsen. The consequence of this are the most aggressive and numerous hurricanes, torrential rains, rising sea levels and rivers, high temperatures, increased seismic activity …
Faced with the uncertainty caused by such unusual atmospheric phenomena, the contribution of precast concrete is being of utmost importance for Smart Cities. The exceptional properties of this material allow the construction of buildings that particularly require high protection. Precast elements like GlassyDur are a safe and hurricane-proof alternative.
Thanks to its composition and approximate thickness, between 1 and 3 cm, it has a high resistance to traction, bending or impact. If we add the development of applications and more precise measurement systems to this, smart cities will also prove to be safe.
VERSATILE DESIGNS: TRADITION VS INNOVATION
When the architectural style represents a part of a city identity, it is a challenge to turn it into a smart city. Especially if it is a place protected by its uniqueness. How does it sound to mix the modern with the old? It can imply being successful as in the case of Rotterdam (Netherlands) or not being it.
The key is to analyze, plan and accurately design the project to be carried out. But what about the raw materials? Again, precast concrete gives us the answers. If we consider that one of its main characteristics is versatility, it will not be difficult to combine tradition and innovation.
Did you know that with GlassyDur it is possible to imitate natural stone with precast concrete? In this way, the transition from a traditional city to a smart one can be carried out in a sustainable way and without altering its identity. In short, the contribution of precast concrete enables smart cities to improve urban planning, live in harmony with nature and face the great forthcoming challenges.