The light color of this precast building reduces the heat island effect common in urban areas.
HIGH CONCRETE GROUP The light color of this precast building reduces the heat island effect common in urban areas.

When precast fabricator High Concrete Group, Denver, Pa., decided to construct a $4.1 million, 16,200-square-foot maintenance building, it wasn't a big surprise that they went with precast concrete. The durability and environmentally friendly characteristics of the company's CarbonCast products made the choice easy.

These carbon fiber-reinforced products increase thermal efficiency, reduce weight, and increase durability by minimizing reinforcement corrosion.

The design team's all-precast approach reduced operational energy costs almost 25% by using thermally efficient wall panels with an R-value of 25. Eight inches of insulation on the roof's carbon fiber-reinforced double tees delivered an R-value of 40. The building also features highly efficient doors and windows, as well as an in-floor radiant heat system.

Other sustainability benefits from the use of precast include the light color, which reduces urban heat island effect and requires less artificial light to illuminate the building. The thermal mass and reflective properties of precast concrete moderate interior temperature changes, and reduce the power needed for heating and cooling.

One unusual sustainability aspect is that the precast sandwich wall panels can be reused for different applications if the building is ever expanded or repurposed. Because the precast process is self-contained, finishing materials and formwork are used multiple times.