TAKTL Takes on Concrete Wastelands

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Locally-sourced, sustainable concrete


Building Design


Aesthetically-pleasing, low-impact concrete that is geographically customizable


While not a widely known fact, concrete represents a significant contributor to global climate change, yet it remains widely used because of the lack of viable alternatives. A Pittsburgh-based company called TAKTL is looking to change this by using ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), which is structurally equivalent to steel but much more sustainable on a long-term basis. Compared to traditional concrete, the company’s proprietary UHPCs are less material- and energy-intensive in production, last longer, can be manufactured locally, are recyclable, and have aesthetic advantage over traditional concrete. From a resources perspective, TAKTL (which is the name of the company and material) contains very little water – 5 percent as compared to the 20 percent found in conventional concrete, which is especially important in water scarce areas.

Additionally, 94 percent of the raw materials are sourced from within a 200 miles radius, which minimizes the energy associated with transport. This locally sourced component of TAKTL is geography specific, supported by software algorithms that allow for the reformulation of its production according to the building site, using nearby materials. As a safeguard, every batch has assured chemical properties, so consistency is maintained across every project. As the growth in their business has seen them become involved in projects worldwide, they plan to maintain this business model based on “locally sourced”, with plans to open additional manufacturing facilities closest to where they see the demand for new buildings.

To add further to the benefits of TAKTL, the chemistry of the material is such that the bonds are closer together than traditional concrete, which makes it impenetrable to water; this prevents cracks and corrosion and subsequently lengthens to lifespan of the material. To top it all off, many believe that it looks better, as it’s offered in a range of colors and textures, along with being moldable. Yet with all these benefits, TAKTL and UHPCs in general are still in the early stages of development and implementation, but the promise they’ve shown thus far indicates that the sky is limit.

Drew Nitschke is a first-year graduate student at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, working towards degree in Environmental Economics and Policy. He is especially interested in sustainability and how it relates to business of all sizes. He graduated from UCLA in June 2012 after...
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