Humanity is currently using 60 billion tons of material per year. About 7 billion tons of ores, 13 billion tons of fossil fuels, 20 billion tons of construction material and 20 billion tons of biomass Construction materials can be used 6 times more efficiently by having new construction shift from residential houses to more radically new construction methods of the China Broad Group skyscraper. The units in a Broad Group Skyscraper would be much faster to build and would be more affordable.
Construction and manufacturing minerals are the least recognized of the world’s minerals. An average US house contains 60 tons of concrete products, 7 tons of gypsum (wallboard), 5 tons of sand, gravel, and stone, and 0.1 ton of glass (Kesler, 1994).
The Changsha Broad Air Conditioning Company has unveiled designs for the 200-storey Sky City tower, a sustainable mixed use project. At 666 meters tall, the building will house 1.2 million square meters (12 million square feet) of space for residential apartments, retail, offices, restaurants, schools and a myriad of other facilities. The building will be manufactured in a factory and assembled on the construction site. Additionally, the tower will have the capacity for 70,000 to 110,000 residents. It will use 400 kilograms (1000 pounds of material per square meter). 480,000 tons of building. Even with reducing the occupancy by half so that units are 1320 square feet instead of 660 square feet the amount of material is 12 tons per person for 40,000 people. The Broad Group building also includes offices and retail shopping. Instead of being 6 times more efficient with material it is more like 8-10 times, since it is replacing 72 tons of house and the extra buildings for offices and shops. It is 20 times more efficient if the higher occupancy levels are used.
A wide variety of industrial minerals are used to build a typical house
• Roof and attic: asphaltic roof shingles or rolled roofing, imitation red clay tile, roof sealant around vent flanges, insulation.
• Ceiling and walls: gypsum wall board, joint cement, paper joint tape, caulking compounds, paint, adhesive for pipes, decorative tile, fireplaces made of brick or stone.
• Floor and foundation: portland cement concrete slab, clays for floor tile, a sand foundation for pipes, adhesive for floor tile, and grout for ceramic tile, clay or PVC pipes.
• Appliances: porcelain kitchen sink, particle board for kitchen cabinets, ceramic tiles, adhesive and caulking, glass shelves, insulation.
• Clays, of various types, are used in bricks, concrete, books, cosmetics, and dishware/ceramics.
• Limestone is used in concrete, books, carpets/rugs, and cosmetics.
• Industrial sands are used in computers, telephones (a telephone contains items made from over 40 different types of minerals), cameras, televisions, drinking glasses, windows, and microwaves. Quartz, which comes from industrial sands and gravels, is the basic constituent of glass. Glass is analogous to steel and cement in that it consists largely of a processed mineral raw material (industrial sand) with mineral additives.
• Construction sand and gravel are used to make our driveways (concrete pavement) and the roads we drive on.
The average six-room house requires 39 tons of aggregates
• Salt is used not only for cooking but also in detergents and in the manufacturing of plastics and rubber products.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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