Materially Efficient Structural Floor Systems for Housing in India
In India, it is estimated that material costs can constitute 60 to 80% of the total cost of residential construction. Additionally, the use of steel-reinforced concrete structures in Indian cities has garnered concern for the environmental costs of construction; construction comprises 22% of India’s carbon emissions. The impact of structural systems on a building’s embodied energy are immediately apparent: cement and steel are responsible for nearly 90% of a multistory concrete frame building’s total embodied energy and 50% is in the horizontally-spanning elements. Utilizing computational structural design, this research explores the material optimization of concrete components to reduce the ecological and economical costs of construction. Designed for the constraints of India, the structural elements are optimized to reduce the necessary volume of concrete and steel while resisting the same loads of an equivalent solid prismatic beam or slab.