LAS VEGAS—By 2030 the U.S. population is expected to reach 363.5 million
persons. Supplying the needed housing, buildings, and roads will lead to a 43-percent growth in U.S. cement consumption by that year.
According to Edward J. Sullivan, PCA chief economist, annual cement
consumption will hit 183 million metric tons, reflecting a 55-million metric ton increase compared to the past cyclical peak level in 2005.
"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. 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 for all new homes, compared to its 7-percent share today.
"If these green conditions materialize, residential concrete construction will add roughly 8 million metric tons to the cement intensities in 2030," Sullivan said.