Google anchors group promoting building product information transparency

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Flux, a San Jose-based technology company founded to deliver collaboration tools for increasing efficiencies in building architecture and engineering, has teamed with Google, a global tech company committed to creating healthy and sustainable workplaces; Healthy Building Network (HBN), a nonprofit devoted to reducing toxic building materials; and, thinkstep, a global sustainability software, data and services firm, to launch the Quartz database.

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Cement Canada EPD covers standard, portland-limestone cements

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Toronto-based standards development, testing and certification services provider CSA Group has registered its first Environmental Product Declaration: “General Use (GU) and Portland-Limestone (GUL) Cements.” The document references (Canadian Standards Association) CSA A3001 product, mirroring ASTM C150 and C1157 plus AASHTO M85 standards, and reflects an industry average of Product stage or cradle-to-gate data from six Cement Association of Canada (CAC) producer members.

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Sustainability specialist economizes plant-specific LCA, EPD preparation

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A catalyst behind much of the environmental impacts in concrete production database, the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute has released an online calculator affording ready mixed producers instant Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declaration figures for any mix, easing preparation of full LCA and EPD reports for green building certification candidate projects.

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Quality control specialist applies 3D imaging to concrete masonry

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A developer of real time inspection tools for a range of production processes timed commercial launch of the HVD (Height Volume Density) Control System for concrete brick, block and pavers with the National Concrete Masonry Association’s 2016 ICON-Xchange in Orlando. The announcement follows Neoculus Technologies’ piloting of the equipment with Oldcastle Architectural’s Quebec-based Permacon business.

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MIT researchers: New microstructure modeling spells better concrete

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To further understand concrete’s microscopic structure and behavior, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, France’s CNRS and peer institutions on both sides of the Atlantic have focused on the principal binder: Is calcium silicate hydrate a continuous solid, like metal or stone, or an aggregate of small particles? Their finding that solidified CSH is a “bit of both” could inform new approaches to lowering mix designs’ water volume and finished structures’ permeability.

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Headwaters Block Group prepares to integrate fly ash-based CalStar process

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Headwaters Inc. has acquired the fly ash-centered technology of recently liquidated brick, paver and masonry trim operator CalStar Products. The intellectual property will be integrated into the Block Group, with concrete masonry production and distribution in Texas and Louisiana, through Headwaters Construction Materials, the leader in ASTM C618 fly ash processing and marketing.

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North American properties top performers in LafargeHolcim charter year

With $5.84 billion in cement, aggregate and ready mixed concrete sales, North America led five LafargeHolcim Ltd. regions in 2015, besting overall figures from Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Middle East Africa businesses. In its inaugural annual report, the company credits continuing U.S. recovery, cost optimization and price management for solid North America region results. Cement and aggregate volumes increased as a whole across the U.S. and eastern Canada, offset partially by a) reduced demand in Texas and western Canada markets, where oil and commodity investments were under pressure; and, b) merger-driven divestments in some states. A double-digit increase in U.S. operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization) stemmed from active cost, price and margin management.

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Dufferin deposit bears first certification for responsibly sourced aggregate

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Dufferin Aggregates’ Acton Quarry in Halton Hills, Ontario, is the first operation to receive Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC) certification as a supplier of responsibly sourced stone, sand and gravel. The certification stands to benefit internal and external customers of an integrated aggregates, ready mixed and construction entity long the Ontario flagship of Holcim (Canada), but now an Oldcastle Materials sister business under CRH Canada Group.

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Boral USA ‘Innovation Factory’ keen on disruptive-product development

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Boral USA officials have dedicated a San Antonio, Texas, facility focused on material science, polymer chemistry, composite products, durability testing and process development. Dubbed the Boral Innovation Factory, it is a companion to a cementitious material- and concrete technology-centered research & development lab in Sydney, home base of parent Boral Ltd.

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Summit assembles Mid-Atlantic platform in Boxley, American Materials deals

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Summit Materials Inc. has closed on key aggregate, concrete and asphalt production assets of Roanoke, Va.-based Boxley Materials Co., a 114-year-old operator serving Virginia and West Virginia. A definitive agreement on the deal was announced shortly after Summit closed on Wilmington, N.C.-based American Materials Co., with five sand & gravel operations in the Carolinas.

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