Calculator performs life cycle assessment for slag cement concrete

The Slag Cement Association has programmed a calculator with which concrete producers can quantify and interpret cradle-to-gate life cycle assessments (LCA) reflecting the environmental impact of mixtures with and without slag cement. Calculations are based on the industry-average Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for ready mixed concrete that incorporates industry-average EPDs for slag cement and portland cement in the United States. The calculator also allows users to evaluate how different concrete mixtures affect whole building impacts based on a typical case study project.

Central Concrete Supply delivered 5,200 yd. of ready mixed, designed with Lehigh Hanson slag cement at 34 percent of net binder, for The Rowan in San Francisco.

Along with slag cement, Argos USA supplied 16,000 yd. of concrete for the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport terminal apron expansion.

Ninety percent of the concrete Miami’s Supermix supplied for the 57-story SLS Lux tower was designed with 40 or 50 percent slag cement factor.

Sears Ready Mix supplied 1,300 yd. of concrete designed with 40 percent slag cement factor for an oceanfront home. PHOTO: Aerial Innovations

“This is a great tool for the ready mixed concrete industry because producers can immediately demonstrate to owners and developers how the use of slag cement can help positively impact the environmental footprint of a structure or building,” says SCA President Ed Griffith. “Industry professionals can use the LCA calculator to help earn points through the LEED green building rating system.”

The first of four calculator sections allows users to select from a list of preset concrete mixes and alter the percentage of slag cement. Graphed results show the impacts for baseline and slag cement-modified mixes in real time and enable users to apply region-specific supply chain characteristics. Users can also enter up to 10 custom mix designs for individual environmental impact calculations; in turn, practitioners can benchmark those mixes as a percentage of region-specific industry averages. The calculator can also be used to detail slag cement’s impact on a building as a whole, allowing users to enter amounts for each custom mix earmarked on a given project. The Life Cycle Assessment Calculator for Slag Cement or a companion EPD can be obtained free of charge at


The association named eight Slag Cement Project of the Year Award recipients during the American Concrete Institute Spring Convention in Detroit. “The construction industry should look to these examples as case studies for the increased durability, resilience and sustainability slag cement brings to a concrete mix design,” noted Griffith.

Member producers and the projects they supplied by category are Argos USA LLC, St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport, Sustainability; LafargeHolcim, Oceanfront Residence, Architectural, Revive I-275, Durability, University of Notre Dame Campus Crossroads, Green Design, and Ten Hudson Yards, High Performance; Lehigh Hanson, The Rowan, Architectural, and SLS Lux, High Performance; and, VCNA St Marys Cement Inc., Ohio DOT Route 6 Bridge, Innovative Application.