Forum releases Challenge 2030-, LEED v4-grade environmental standards for concrete

Source: Carbon Leadership Forum, Seattle

Against a backdrop of the 2012 Greenbuild Conference & Expo (November 14–16, 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 Carbon Leadership Forum recognized this issue, and its members set in motion a process for developing clear rules to govern the environmental reporting for concrete mix designs.”

“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:

• 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.

“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. This coalition, led by the Carbon Leadership Forum, has created the necessary elements to provide clear, scientifically based information that allows comparisons, promotes transparency and instills trust.”  —