US population growth expected to boost cement use
Feb 1, 2008 3:09 PM
Growth in US cement consumption by 2030 is expected to be as much as 43 percent as a result of population projections of 363.5 million, according to information from the Portland Cement Association (PCA).
The US Census Bureau reports the current population count as about 303.51 million.
In 2030, annual cement consumption is expected to hit 183 million metric tons, reflecting a 55-million-metric-ton increase compared to the past cyclical peak level in 2005, said Edward J Sullivan, PCA chief economist. "Sixty-three million more people will be living in the United States in 2030 and they will need homes, schools, hospitals, and roads. This construction will boost demand for cement to record levels."
While 50 percent of the rise in cement consumption is due to population growth, the remaining half will be driven by per capita cement consumption. One sector that Sullivan predicts will incur large growth is highway construction. Today, this segment accounts for 30 percent of total annual cement consumption. To meet the demand of the expected additional 49 million drivers, at least 400,000 additional lane miles of highway must be added by 2030. Efforts to reduce congestion and "wasted" fuel and its associated emissions could further increase the number of miles, according to the PCA information.
Additionally, energy and environmental concerns are predicted to boost cement intensities, the tons of cement per dollar of construction activity. For example, houses built with insulating concrete form walls (ICFs) can require up to 44 percent less energy to heat and 32 percent less energy to cool than comparable frame homes. As more homeowners and builders seek energy efficient houses, the insulated concrete wall market share is expected to increase to 30 percent all new homes, compared to its seven percent share today.
"If these 'green' conditions materialize residential concrete construction will add roughly eight million metric tons to the cement intensities in 2030," Sullivan said.
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