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Concrete: A Building Material for the Energy Conscious

Two attendees get questions answered from Dave Blasedel during his demonstration of stenciled concrete.

The third annual Decorative Concrete LIVE! continues to showcase innovative construction applications for residential and retail at the World of Concrete in Las Vegas Jan. 22-25. Rather than highlighting concrete’s uses in a particular environment, the 2019 exhibit will focus on how decorative and architectural concrete can positively contribute to the wants and needs of an increasingly energy-minded society.

“In this day and age building owners want to include energy conservation and sustainable materials and methods in their projects and structures. Decorative Concrete LIVE! will demonstrate how using concrete on floors, walls, ceilings, roofs and exterior cladding can help them achieve their goals,” says Bent Mikkelsen, organizer of Decorative Concrete LIVE! and publisher of Concrete Decor magazine.

One key element of this hands-on, interactive event will be demonstrations of energy-efficient building construction techniques. One featured method will involve insulated concrete forms (ICFs), cast-in-place, reinforced concrete building components. There are also plans for a second construction approach involving structural concrete insulated panels (SCIPs), panels with foam cores that have wire grids on each side and are faced with shotcrete.

“Both ICFs and SCIPs will give you well-insulated, airtight buildings where the thermal mass becomes a component of the building envelope and changes in outdoor temperatures won’t affect the indoor conditioned space as dramatically,” Mikkelsen says.

Consequently, buildings constructed with these materials enable designers to downsize heating and cooling systems. “The HVAC system also doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature,” he adds, which results in year-round lower utility bills.

Decorative Concrete LIVE! will again feature a wide range of exterior finishes made of cementitious materials for these and other substrates. While contractors will use materials to provide traditional-looking finishes, Mikkelsen’s sight includes introducing a new finish to the concrete construction industry.

Concrete artisan Josh Annis puts some details into his sculpture at Decorative Concrete Live in 2018.“At any rate, we’re going to show attendees and our readers techniques they can use with newer cementitious products in innovative and better ways,” he says. “Rather than promoting the traditional ways of doing things, we are going to encourage forward thinking to better compete in the building industry.”

Mikkelsen hopes to include techniques and tools that feature innovations that reduce the energy usage involved in the construction process. The combustion engine is on its way to becoming a thing of the past, he says, as “America is bent on cutting CO2 emissions.”

Pervious concrete, a porous material that helps reduce stormwater runoff and recharge groundwater, will be among this year’s sustainable products featured at Decorative Concrete LIVE! Also known as permeable concrete, it is among the Best Management Practices recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency to control stormwater and reduce a community’s reliance on water treatment facilities.

Mikkelsen plans to show how decorative concrete construction materials and techniques can be blended in with other energy-saving features on commercial and residential projects. One design feature in the works includes a solar array on a concrete rooftop that could also serve as a decorative-type cladding that generates power to offset utility costs.

“Using concrete for more sustainable applications that promote energy conservation will benefit our entire industry,” Mikkelsen says. “So I’m on the lookout for products and methods that will guide us in that direction.”

For more information on how you or your company can become involved with Decorative Concrete LIVE! at World of Concrete in 2019, call (877) 935-8906.

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