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Poor technology or poor mindset: impact on the sustainability of concrete construction. Poor technology or poor mindset: impact on the sustainability of concrete construction.

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Ephraim Senbetta

Visiting Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar Universities , ETHIOPIA
 

The theme of this year’s conference has to do with the sustainability of cement and concrete investment and the motto is “cementing the gaps”. The theme and motto lead me to ask, what the word, sustainability, means in this context and what the gap is that we are trying to cement?


According to the classic definition of “Sustainability”, an activity or an industry is sustainable when it is economically viable, environmentally responsible and has positive social impact. Our activities related to cement production and concrete construction don’t appear to be sustainable because they don’t satisfy the basic requirements for sustainability. This is because too much cement is being used to produce concrete of a given strength, there is too much waste and the structures we build are not as durable as they should be.


In Ethiopia, the common belief tends to be that lack of technology is the gap that needs to be filled neglecting the huge impact mindset is playing in what we do and the results we have been achieving.


The presentation will examine the issues pointed out above and make recommendations for actions that will need to be taken to help make the industry sustainable.

After spending all of his adult life in the United States, Dr. Ephraim Senbetta returned to Ethiopia as a Fulbright Scholar to teach in the Civil Engineering School at Addis Ababa University where he has been teaching ever since. He also teaches at Bahir Dar University where he has been teaching a course that he developed titled Introduction to Sustainable Construction. He has also been doing consulting work related to the application of the LEED green building standard, quality management and construction products.


While in the United States he had different technical and management responsibilities in building products companies.


Dr. Ephraim received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Purdue University in the United States. He is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute, a LEED Accredited Professional qualified to work on green building projects and a Certified Quality Auditor by the American Society for Quality.


His passion is sharing what he has learned from studying and living abroad.