Reducing Emissions in Concrete Production

Concrete is the universal building material – from pavements and bridges to buildings, water storage tanks, countertops, and everything in between.  The manufacture and construction of building materials produces emissions, and concrete has recently been singled out.  The reality is that emissions from cement production make up less than 1.5% of the national total, and the concrete industry in the US has been actively working to reduce emissions for many years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  Cement emissions are included within the Industry category.

Major cement producers with plants in Colorado have reduced net emissions per ton of cementitious product by 21-25% since 1990 and are utilizing renewable energy sources for up to 26% of their power consumption.  In partnership with owners and specifiers, the concrete industry in Colorado is focused on providing an even higher quality product while reducing the impact on our environment.

Join our efforts in reducing emissions by following these recommendations:

Innovations

  • Use portland limestone cement (PLC), which incorporates up to 15% finely ground limestone during production, to reduce clinker factor and corresponding carbon footprint.
  • Optimize aggregate gradations to construct a more durable pavement with a reduced cement content and corresponding lower emissions impact.
  • Introduce recycled CO2 into new concrete through CO2

Reducing & Recycling

  • Eliminate minimum cement content and include performance specifications instead of prescriptive to specify properties related to increased durability.
  • Replace 20% or more of the cement with fly ash to improve concrete quality and beneficially dispose of a waste product.
  • Incorporate recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) into new concrete pavement to reduce mining, processing and transportation.

Longevity

  • Build long lasting pavements to extend the time between recycling pavement and reduce construction emissions caused by frequent rehabilitation cycles.
  • Diamond grind the surface of concrete pavement to restore smoothness and extend life without the need for additional raw materials.

For additional details about the concepts described and how they are being implemented in Colorado and around the country, please refer to the resources below or contact Angela Folkestad (afolkestad@pavement.com).

MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub:  cshub.mit.edu

National Concrete Pavement Technology Center:  cptechcenter.org