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The triple bottom line (TBL) is a framework with three parts: social, environmental, and financial.

Also known as the three P’s (people, planet, and profit) or the three pillars of sustainability, the TBL is a phrase coined by John Elkington and used in his 1997 book, Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. The TBL measures a company’s economic value, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility. He argues that the three bottom lines should be measured equally, instead of solely considering the economic value.

The basis of the TBL with regard to the building industry, refers to giving consideration to the three principles discussed in order to achieve sustainable building.

  • Social ResponsibilityThis aspect of the TBL, referred to in the three P’s as “people,” takes into account the fair and favorable business practice regarding labor and the community in which business is being conducted.
  • Environmental ResponsibilityLabeled the “planet” aspect of the three P’s, environmental responsibility is the use of sustainable environmental practices and the reduction of environmental impact. This aspect takes into account natural resources, environmental management, and pollution prevention, which come into direct play in regard to air, water, land, and waste.
  • Economic ValueAlso known as “profit,” the economic value created by the company or the economic benefit to the surrounding community and society. This speaks to profit, cost savings, economic growth, and research and development.

One question you might be thinking about is how you would go about measuring the TBL. This is certainly an appropriate question considering none of the three characteristics share a common unit of measure. Still, the premise behind the vision stands. A project must look to the three aspects listed in equal measure to achieve a sustainable build.

For concrete, sustainability lies mostly in the life span of the structure, which requires durable building. One with a short life span isn’t good for the environment in that you will have to repair and rebuild. This isn’t economically viable in most cases and doesn’t meet social responsibility standards. However, those with a long life span, stretching far into the future, decrease the amount of construction needed and repairs required, saving the environment from outputs and landfills. A building that lasts longest sustains the biggest “bang for your buck,” so to speak, which is useful for the community in which it was built for.

To ensure an extended life span for a concrete structure, you must eliminate the influences of deterioration. The leading cause of early concrete deterioration is through water ingress. To prevent this from happening, a suitable waterproofing product is needed. One of the examples of such products is Krystol Internal Membrane™, a Smart Concrete® integral waterproofing solution that Kryton created with the TBL principle in mind. This self-maintained, environmentally friendly, and durable admixture creates permanently waterproof concrete, contributes LEED points to a building, and saves the developer’s money on application and maintenance.

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