Aggregate top guns believe in recovery

Three credible sources offer a welcome follow up on the encouraging 2013 construction and concrete business outlook noted here last month. In investor guidance, the top U.S. aggregate producers—each with varying levels of integrated concrete, cement, asphalt and road building businesses—report slight 2012 sales or earnings improvement over the prior year, plus 2013 market confidence underpinned by MAP-21 highway bill funding, plus gains in residential and nonresidential building.

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Net zero Walgreens prototype rises with CalStar masonry units

Sources: Walgreen Co., Deerfield, Ill.; CP staff

Fly ash-bound brick and paver producer CalStar Products Inc. in Racine, Wis., is among suppliers to what retail giant Walgreen believes will be the nation’s first net zero energy store—engineered to produce an amount of power equal to or greater than what it consumes.

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Energy reduction lands Turner Construction EPA Climate Leadership award

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; Turner Construction Co., New York; CP staff

Lower electricity consumption at fixed offices, contributing to a 5 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over a five-year period, spawned a 2013 Climate Leadership Award for general contractor top gun Turner Construction. Installation of interactive, real time dashboards has allowed employees to see current power use and usage patterns, and compare their energy consumption levels against those of other Turner offices.

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OSHA construction committee to revisit signage standard

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The OSHA Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health will meet March 18 to consider a proposed rule updating the agency’s standard on accident prevention signs and tags in construction. The standard requires that signs and symbols be visible at all times to warn workers of existing hazards when work is being performed. The updates are based on revisions in the American National Standards Institute consensus standards.

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Florida lawmakers draft concrete masonry check-off legislation

Sources: CP staff; National Concrete Masonry Association, Herndon, Va.

Florida State Senator Denise Grimsley’s (R-District 21) Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education, and Promotion Act (SB 944) would create a Florida Concrete Masonry Council and authorize it to manage assessments on unit sales to support industry promotion in the Sunshine State.

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Architecture 2030 chief to NRMCA: Climate solution at building sector’s doorstep

Sources: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

Architecture 2030 founder Ed Mazria told attendees at the NRMCA annual convention, San Antonio, that public and private entities’ eye on lower greenhouse gas emissions is driving a transformation in commercial and residential building design and construction methods, affirming, “There’s no holding it back.”

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MIT researchers extend vehicle fuel efficiency case for concrete pavement

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; CP staff

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology report, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Estimating the Impact of Deflection-Induced Pavement-Vehicle Interaction on Fuel Consumption,” cites the potential for $15 billion in annual fuel costs—plus attendant lower greenhouse gas emissions—tied to rigid pavement specifications.

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