Industry-Wide EPD for ready mixed premiers at 2014 Greenbuild

Source: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.

With the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild Conference & Expo as a backdrop, NRMCA announced publication of environmental impacts for concrete to help members address the movement toward product transparency in the LEED v4 project rating system. The Industry-Wide (IW) Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and Benchmark (Industry Average) Report span a wide range of mix designs from materials sourced across the country.

“USGBC supports the leadership roll the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and its members have taken to support transparency in the building market,” says Vice President of LEED Technical Development Brendan Owens. “The information in this Environmental Product Declaration will allow LEED project teams to make more informed decisions on how the concrete materials they specify affect the embodied environmental impact of buildings.”

“By publishing the IW EPD and industry baselines for concrete we are helping producers accelerate their progress toward reducing their environmental impacts and supporting the drive toward product optimization through disclosure,”adds NRMCA President Robert Garbini.

USGBC’s LEED v4 incentivizes a project team to use 20 EPD-backed materials or products. Each mix design on a concrete schedule represents a different product. The IW EPD lists impacts for 2,500–8,000 psi compressive strength concrete used in residential, commercial and public construction. A wide range of products are covered for each strength class, from 100 percent portland cement mixes to those where fly ash and slag cement represent more than 50 percent of the binder. To use an IW EPD in LEED v4 ratings, a producer needs to have provided data to the project and be listed in the EPD. Although the IW EPD is worth half the value of a product-specific EPD, nearly 70 NRMCA member companies, representing upward of 2,300 ready mixed plants, are represented by the IW EPD.

NRMCA’s Benchmark (Industry Average) Report presents the impacts for average concrete mixtures at the national level and in eight different regions. This allows companies to compare their product-specific environmental impacts to industry averages and potentially participate in a second option of the LEED v4 EPD credit. It requires a project team to use products totaling at least 50 percent by cost of all materials on the building that demonstrate three impacts below industry average.