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Shear walls are primary structural systems that support building against lateral loads (tornadoes and hurricanes). Even though concrete shear walls are the most efficient lateral resisting system, they are rarely used in a residential construction. The reasons for why contractors do not use concrete walls in residential construction were due to higher construction cost and slower construction paces. This study proposes building and testing residential concrete structural wall system that is energy efficient, cost competitive and structurally safe.
In order to decrease environmental impact of the residential construction process, this study proposed implementing sustainability concept while building residential structures. The recycled material was used in the wall’s concrete mix, while salvaged material was used for the wall’s formwork. To test how experimental concrete mix behaves under high lateral loads, two reinforced concrete shear walls with typical residential profiles were built and evaluated. Shear wall with experimental mix (SW2) showed significantly lower shear capacity (27.7 kips) compared to the shear capacity (40.5 kips) of the wall with control mix (SW1). However, the obtained shear capacity for both walls was greater than shear demand (21.1kips). The results showed that implementing sustainability concept in residential construction process did not affect its cost competitiveness. The proposed system was shown to be environmentally friendly and structurally safe, despite excessive compressive strength retardation of experimental concrete mix caused by mineral or chemical contamination.