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Sustainability | Certification | Green Concrete | Sustainability Committee | Building Codes

Sustainability and the Concrete Industry

SPECIAL GREENBUILD 2014 DOWNLOADS

Other Information On This Page

NRMCA EPD Program (learn about Environmental Product Declarations)
Radical Materials & Resources Reporting in LEED v4
Resilience is the New Sustainability
Sustainable Concrete: The Role of Performance Specifications
NRMCA Adopt the 2030 Challenge for Products
Sustainable Concrete Pavements: A Manual of Practice
MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub Research Results
Responsible Sourcing: Sustainable Concrete Plant Certification
Biodiversity at Ready Mixed Concrete Plants
NRMCA Concrete Sustainability Professional Certification
Concrete Sustainability Reports and Other Important Publications
Building Codes and Standards Updates
NRMCA Sustainability-Related Courses and Conferences
NRMCA Sustainability Initiatives


 

NRMCA Environmental Product Declaration Program

 

Click here for lists of companies with verified EPDs.

 

NRMCA is an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Program Operator in order to help concrete producers and concrete product suppliers meet new requirements in LEED v4, International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products. EPDs are third party verified (certified) reports published by product manufacturers that provide quality assured and comparable information regarding environmental performance of their product.

 

EPDs are developed in accordance with strict international standards that include a transparent verification process for adopting Product Category Rules (PCR) by which EPDs are developed and verified. To produce an EPD, a company must perform a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on a product and report the results in the EPD. The PCR defines, among other things, the functional unit (product to be analyzed), scope and boundaries of the LCA and the environmental impacts to be reported in the EPD. Before the EPD can be published, it must be third party reviewed and verified.

 

NRMCA manages the process of from beginning to end, helping manufacturers identify consultants and tools to perform the prerequisite LCA in order to develop a draft EPD. Once the draft EPD is developed, NRMCA verifies that the LCA and EPD were conducted in accordance with the selected PCR and if so, certifies the EPD.

 

Click here for more details on the NRMCA EPD Program.

 

Free Webinar: Environmental Product Declarations

 

NRMCA will be presenting free webinars on Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) on May 22 and June 19. EPDs are third party verified (certified) reports published by product manufacturers that provide quality assured and comparable information regarding environmental performance of their products. Well established in other parts of the world, EPDs are starting to appear in the US as the common methodology for assessing environmental performance of a product. The upcoming LEED v4 Rating System and Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products are starting the demand for EPDs. Join us for an informative 1-1/2 hour webinar as we offer a brief overview of EPDs, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that supports them and the Product Category Rules (PCRs) that sets the ground rules for them. In addition, the webinar will discuss NRMCA’s EPD Program and present the first certified EPD for concrete in North America.

 

Watch a Recorded Webinar on EPDs

 

Click here to watch a recording of a Webinar describing the PCR and EPDs.

Click here to download Part 1 of the Webinar presentation.

Click here to download Part 2 of the Webinar presentation.

 


 

New Radical Material and Resources Reporting Criteria in LEED v4

With the proliferation of eco-labels and green certifications worldwide, it can be confusing for manufacturers to determine which sustainable guidelines to address. Over the past 10 years the LEED rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council has steadily transformed the marketplace and is set to do so again with the newly released LEED v4. The new version has radically overhauled the Materials and Resources (MR) credits. The revamped MR credits, called Building Product Disclosure and Optimization, will create opportunities for manufacturers that take the path to transparency through Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reports and Health Product Declarations (HPDs).

Well established in other industries, these metrics are starting to appear in the construction industry as common methodologies for assessing the sustainable performance of a product, process or organization.

 

Watch the recorded webinar session here for an informative 90-minute session as we offered an overview of EPDs, CSRs and HPDs and what they mean for the concrete industry.

 

Click here for a PDF of the presentation.

 

What is NRMCA doing to help members meet these new reporting requirements in LEED v4?

 

Click here to learn about the NRMCA EPD program and begin developing your own EPDs.

Click here to learn about the NRMCA Industry Wide EPD project.

Click here to learn about the NRMCA Responsible Sourcing (CSR) project.

Click here to learn about the NRMCA-RMC Research & Education Foundation Guide to HPD project.

 


 

New Resilience is the New Sustainability

 

The need for enhanced resiliency of buildings is becoming increasingly important nationally and globally and is a key component to economic, societal and environmental viability. Because of the growing challenges of human interaction with the natural environment, it requires a whole new way to consider how we design and build our communities. The green building movement has traditionally focused on the environmental aspects of the construction industry while balancing economic considerations. Now, with the recovery effort from Superstorm Sandy underway, communities are considering issues of social equality while building to meet the challenge of the next natural or man-made disaster. This session will consider the impacts of disaster events to our communities, the benefits of hazard mitigation through resilience planning and why sustainability must now consider the effects of extreme weather.

 

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation

Click here to visit NRMCA's Resilience website

 


 

Sustainable Concrete: The Role of Performance-based Specifications

 

Concrete is used in nearly every structure we build today, including buildings, bridges, homes and infrastructure. With greater emphasis placed on sustainability in recent years, structural engineers are faced with the challenge of meeting traditional design criteria in addition to evolving criteria that support sustainable construction. Performance-based specifications for concrete can substantially help meet this new challenge. Prescriptive requirements such as minimum cement content or maximum water to cement ratio are among many common specification requirements that can increase the environmental footprint of concrete. NRMCA has tools and guidance on how concrete performance can be improved while lowering environmental footprint by implementing performance-based specifications.

 

Click here to download a Webinar recording (large file - may take several minutes to download)

Click here to download a PDF of a presentation

Click here to download an article

 

Other Publications

Guide to Improving Specifications for Ready Mixed Concrete

Guide Performance Based Specification for Concrete Materials

 

Click here for more details and resources on Performance Based Specifications

 


 

NRMCA Adopts the 2030 Challenge for Products

Embraces a Low Carbon Future

 

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In an effort to help concrete producers reduce their carbon footprint, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) announced on October 4, 2012, that it has signed on to the 2030 Challenge for Products. The 2030 Challenge for Products is a global challenge to specify and manufacture products that meet a carbon footprint of 30% below the product average through 2014 and subsequently improve on this reduction: 35% in 2015; 40% in 2020; 45% in 2025; and 50% in 2030. Issued by Architecture 2030, the 2030 Challenge for Products builds on the widely adopted original 2030 Challenge, which calls for the operation of all new buildings and major renovations to be carbon neutral by 2030. more | download

 


 

Sustainable Concrete Pavements: A Manual of Practice

 

This manual, developed by the Concrete Pavement Research and Technology Center (CP Tech Center) at Iowa State University provides detailed information on sustainability concepts for concrete pavements. The intended audience includes decision makers and practitioners in both owner-agencies and supply, manufacturing, consulting, and contractor businesses. Readers will find individual chapters with the most recent technical information and best practices related to concrete pavement design, materials, construction, use/operations, renewal, and recycling. In addition, they will find chapters addressing issues specific to pavement sustainability in the urban environment and to the evaluation of pavement sustainability.

download

 


 

MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub Research Results

 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) ongoing research through the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub has set a new standard in life-cycle assessment (LCA) modeling. The three reports published in August, 2011, discuss initial findings on the life-cycle environmental and economic costs of pavement, commercial buildings and residential building. The results provide a rigorous means of testing the relative environmental impact of paving and building materials and design alternatives.

 

Download summaries of the reports:

 

MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Commercial Buildings
MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Residential Buildings
MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Concrete Pavements
MIT Research: Effects of Inflation and Volatility on Construction Materials

 

Download Summary Presentations of the MIT Research:

 

MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Commercial Buildings
MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Residential Buildings
MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Concrete Pavements
MIT Research: Effects of Inflation and Volatility on Construction Materials

 

Download Detailed Presentations of the MIT Research:

 

MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Commercial Buildings - 30 minutes

MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Residential Buildings - 30 minutes

MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Concrete Pavements - 30 minutes

MIT Research: Effects of Inflation and Volatility on Construction Materials - 20 minutes

 

Download the Full MIT Reports:

Buildings Life Cycle
Pavements Life Cycle
Inflation and its Volatility on Construction
 

Click here to download the NRMCA Sample Letter to the Editor

Click here to download the NRMCA strategic plan for leveraging the MIT LCA interim research results.
Click here to download a presentation describing strategies and ideas for promoting the MIT LCA interim research results.
Click here to download a recording of a webinar originally delivered on September 8, 2011, by NRMCA staff describing strategies for leveraging the MIT LCA year 2 research results.

 


 

Responsible Sourcing

 

Sustainable Concrete Plant Certification

 

The NRMCA Sustainable Concrete Plant Certification program provides a quantitative, performance-based metric, to allow ready mixed concrete producers to demonstrate excellence in sustainable development. The Certification provides ready mixed concrete plant personnel with specific guidance to assess their production practices and implement sustainability strategies that will ultimately lower their overall footprint.

 

Click here for more detail.

 

NEW Concrete Sustainability Council Certification

Recognizing the need to address new reporting requirements for environmental, health and social performance, a group of international organizations initiated by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development/Cement Sustainability Initiative (WBCSD/CSI) came together in October 2013 to begin the process of developing an international responsible sourcing certification system for the concrete, cement and aggregates industries. Called a responsible sourcing scheme (RSS), these new reporting requirements are quickly becoming part of the company’s entry into the growing green marketplace. With the launch of LEED v4, all responsibly sourced building products are now rewarded for reporting through approved responsible sourcing certification systems.

A new organization, the Concrete Sustainability Council (CSC), was established to develop, launch and administer the certification system. As a founding member of the CSC, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) believes participation in responsible sourcing can give concrete enterprises the opportunity to obtain financial stability, increase productivity and expand their market. The CSC organization is in its formative stage and is expected to start piloting projects in 2015.

The responsible sourcing project was formally launched in February 2014 when industry representatives met to initiate the development of a responsible sourcing scheme (RSS) for concrete during the International Concrete Sustainability Conference, organized by the Ibero-American Ready-Mixed Concrete Association (FIHP) and the National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) held in Medellín, Colombia. Stefan van Uffelen, former director of the Dutch Green Building Council, has been assigned as coordinator for the project.

The CSC is developing a standard rating system that allows organizations to evaluate, benchmark and report their performance at a regional level. This standard will seek to protect labor rights, impact on communities while managing the fair flow of capital, equitable use and sharing of benefits, economic impacts on the organization and its stakeholders.

More about the CSC can be found at http://www.concretesustainabilitycouncil.org.
 


Biodiversity at Ready Mixed Concrete Plants

NRMCA and the Wildlife Habitat Council have formed a partnership designed to encourage participation in the programs of each organization while demonstrating voluntary corporate leadership in environmental performance. Click here for more detail.

 


NRMCA Concrete Sustainability Professional Certification

The goal of this certification program is to ensure that concrete industry professionals are knowledgeable on concepts of sustainable development and green building practices. Click here for more detail.

 


 

Concrete Sustainability Reports

 

A series of technical publications addressing key issues regarding concrete sustainability.

 

CSR01 - Concrete's Contribution to LEED 2009 NC download | purchase

CSR02 - Concrete and Climate Change download | purchase

CSR03 - Sustainability of Concrete Pavements download | purchase

CSR04 - Life Cycle Assessment of Concrete Buildings download

CSR05 - MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Commercial Buildings download
CSR06 - MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Residential Buildings download
CSR07 - MIT Research: Life Cycle Assessment of Concrete Pavements download
CSR08 - MIT Research: Effects of Inflation and Volatility on Construction Materials download

CSR09 - Concrete's Role in Reducing Urban Heat Islands download

CSR10 - Concrete Solutions to Architecture 2030 Challenge download

CSR11 - Concrete's Contribution to LEED v4 download | purchase

 

Other Important Publications

 

Guide to Improving Specifications for Ready Mixed Concrete Click here for more detail.

RMCREF LEED Guide Revised 01-10 download | purchase

Concrete CO2 Fact Sheet download

 


 

Building Codes and Standards Updates
 

State and Local Issues
Model Code Language
Sustainability

New NRMCA Testifies at IgCC Committee Action Hearings in Memphis

Along with industry allies, NRMCA successfully defended its position on many proposals affecting concrete interests at the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) Committee Action Hearings in Memphis, TN during the week of April 28. The IgCC is an overlay code that works with other building codes to provide an approach to reduce the impacts of building construction on the natural environment and promote conservation from many perspectives. The results of the code development cycle will be the publication of the 2015 IgCC model code.

Tien Peng of NRMCA participated in the hearings and delivered testimony on issues affecting the concrete industry. Some positive results include:

▪ Successfully opposing proprietary interests to remove Solar Reflectance (SR) as a measure to mitigate Urban Heat Island effects
▪ Partially successful in opposing proprietary interests limiting Life Cycle Assessment tools and eliminating operational energy analysis
▪ Partially successful in supporting concrete interests in functional resilience, environmental product declarations, and extended service life of buildings.

Click here for a full report of the code hearing or contact Tien Peng at 206-913-8535 or tpeng@nrmca.org.


 

NRMCA Sustainability-Related Courses and Conferences
 

•   NRMCA Concrete Sustainability Professional Certification Program

•   Concrete's Role in Sustainable Development: Online Course & Certification

•   Building Green with Concrete: Online Course & Certification

•   Life Cycle Assessment of Concrete Structures Online Course

•   International Concrete Sustainability Conference

•   Seminars for Architects and Engineers

 


 

NRMCA Sustainability Initiatives

 

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The ready mixed concrete industry is dedicated to upholding the principles of sustainable development
—development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs—by attempting to balance social, economic and environmental impacts.
Sustainability has become part of the fabric of society. Corporations in every industry are shaped by their customers’ desire to be more environmentally responsible. Companies that adopt sustainable practices will become preferred suppliers. While environmental performance, including greenhouse gas emissions, will be increasingly monitored and regulated, voluntary initiatives such as the one presented here will help achieve ambitious sustainability goals.

Construction industry stakeholders—including project owners, designers, contractors and product manufacturers—are especially affected by the challenges of sustainable development since the built environment has significant environmental, social and economic impact on our lives and planet. On one hand, our built environment provides us with places to live and work and contributes to a robust economy and societal needs. On the other, operating our buildings, houses and infrastructure consumes enormous amounts of energy and valuable resources. Building products require natural resources and energy to produce and transport. New construction projects can burden natural habitats.

The concrete industry is uniquely positioned to meet the challenges of sustainable development. Its products help improve the overall environmental footprint of the built environment. For example, high performance concrete wall and floor systems help improve energy performance of buildings. Light colored pavements reduce urban heat islands and minimize lighting requirements. Pervious concrete pavements reduce and treat stormwater runoff. Concrete is extremely durable and provides for long service life. And the industry continues to develop new sustainable products through research and development.

The concrete industry is dedicated to continuous improvement through product and process improvements. The industry continues to increase the use of recycled materials, including industrial by-products, thus conserving valuable natural resources and reducing process energy required to manufacture concrete. The industry continues to explore new ways to further reduce the carbon footprint through the development of innovative cements and concrete mixtures. Concrete companies also strive to improve manufacturing processes, including the use of alternative energy sources, to minimize the energy of production and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, the industry continues to enhance transportation efficiency and delivery methods to reduce the environmental impact of the construction process.

This NRMCA Sustainability Initiatives document outlines goals for reducing the overall environmental footprint of concrete construction and provides strategies for achieving these goals. The concrete industry has been a key contributor in building this nation’s infrastructure and will continue to enhance the sustainability of our built environment for generations to come.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. Submit comments to Lionel Lemay, LLemay@nrmca.org, 847-918-7101.


NRMCA 2011 Sustainability Report

 

 
   

NRMCA has published the 2011 Sustainability Report to communicate the ready mixed concrete industry’s progress toward meeting sustainability goals. In 2009, the U.S. ready mixed concrete industry established a vision, strategies and goals toward sustainable concrete manufacturing and construction. At the same time, the concrete industry was experiencing the worst economic downturn in its history and unprecedented regulatory changes. However, despite these challenges, the industry has re-dedicated itself to upholding the principles of sustainable development by establishing programs to help meet the aggressive goals it set for itself in 2009.

 

The NRMCA 2011 Sustainability Report describes how the industry has invested millions of dollars in cutting edge research, new education and training programs, new personnel and plant certifications and codes and standards advocacy to establish concrete as the sustainable material of choice for building and infrastructure projects and lower its environmental footprint.

Download

 

 


 

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