Concrete Products

DEC 2012

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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NEWS SCOPE PRODUCERS Forum releases environmental standards for concrete mixes Against a backdrop of last month's 2012 Greenbuild Conference & Expo in San Francisco, the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) announced the first U.S. environmental footprint standards, also known as Product Category Rules (PCRs), for concrete mixes. A University of Washington/College of Built Environment-hosted alliance of researchers, associations and companies in the building industry, CLF also recognized Central Concrete Supply Co. as the first U.S. ready mixed producer to adopt Environmental Product Declarations. EPDs provide standardized, quantified product life-cycle information to enable comparisons among various products fulfilling the same function. Developing PCRs for building materials, including concrete, was the first CLF project. "Reducing the carbon footprint from concrete is one of the most significant actions the building sector can take," says Ed Mazria, founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by changing the way projects are planned, designed and constructed. "The level of interest and participation in creating PCRs for concrete has been outstanding," adds CLF Director and University of Washington Assistant Professor of Architecture Kate Simonen. "Key to our success was the alliance's dedication to increase transparency, move the market forward and pursue the Architecture 2030 goals." At Greenbuild 2012, CLF unveiled a PCR for concrete based on these objectives: most CLF members have indicated support for the next steps through recent measures and announcements, some coinciding with Greenbuild: • Central Concrete is the first industry to adopt EPDs for concrete mixes and formally pledge Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products support. • Climate Earth, a leader in carbon accounting tools based in Berkeley, Calif., has commenced work with Central Concrete to create scientifically based EPDs. • The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association has formalized its role as an EPD program operator, a designation enabling it to meet new provisions in all five drafts of LEED v4, Living Building Challenge, ASHRAE 189.1 Standard, International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products by certifying EPDs. As an EPD program operator, the NRMCA ensures that an independent verifier reviews and verifies each EPD developed under the NRMCA EPD program before certification. • Webcor Builders, a leading West Coast general contractor based in northern California, has incorporated EPD review as a significant factor in its procurement process. • Architecture 2030, a CLF advisor, cites continuing advocacy for third-party verified EPDs and reductions in the carbon footprints of building products. • Degenkolb Engineers, a structural engineering firm, cites participation the concrete PCR development, underscoring how the rules a) are an important step toward advancing the availability of environmental impact data for construction materials; and, b) will help the structural engineering and broader A/E/C industry better understand how to effectively reduce built-environment impacts. • Arup, an independent firm of designers, engineers, and technical specialists, has adopted specifications for an EPD into its standard cast-in-place concrete submittal requirements for sustainable projects, and will continue to seek similar opportunities in all building materials. "We are pleased to be the first concrete supplier in the U.S. to adopt EPDs," says Central Concrete Vice President and General Manager Jeff Davis. "The 2030 Challenge has ignited the interest of architects and engineers worldwide and has created a demand for transparency through PCRs and EPDs." • Support the targets of the 2030 Challenge for Products. • Enable reporting of carbon footprint and other environmental impacts. • Address allocation in methods consistent with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency policy. • Address variability and uncertainty in data. • Provide guidelines to make implementation by the industry both rigorous and simple. Forum members also announced that the critical infrastructure was in place to take the next steps: develop, verify, publish and promote EPDs for concrete mixes based on the PCRs. Often likened to a nutrition label, an EPD provides a summary of the environmental impacts and related information in a form that is accessible and consistent. Key industry organizations, entities and WWW.CONCRETEPRODUCTS.COM The six-page EPD announced at Greenbuild includes a standardized chart for mix materials. DECEMBER 2012 | 15

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