Traditionally carbon intensive, the cement industry is seeing a significant change in how specifiers, architects and customers are looking at building materials through the lens of environmental impact. In response to demand for products with a lower carbon footprint, Lafarge and LafargeHolcim concrete operations in Canada and the United States have partnered to raise awareness that environmentally-friendly, cement-based products are a reality. Across North America, company officials note, market demand for and adoption of widely available binders exhibiting lower carbon dioxide emissions footprints than portland cement remains inconsistent. Decisions around material selection are generally left up to local specifiers, who set the construction standards, and customers, who have deep experience with limited product mixes.
The OneWay Forward campaign highlights five concrete production or engineering community leaders who are advocating for the use of environmentally friendly materials, specifically the Lafarge and LafargeHolcim OneCem portland-limestone cement (PLC) offering, across a variety of applications. While ordinary portland cement typically comprises 90-100 percent clinker—the product of carbon-intensive pyroprocessing—PLC bears up to 15 percent finely ground limestone. The latter imparts performance comparable to clinker-only cement, yet exhibits a lower net CO2 profile.
“Concrete is the most widely-consumed material after water, and so we consider it our responsibility to do everything we can to lower the carbon footprint of the cement we produce,” says Holcim AG Region Head North America René Thibault. “Our goal is to educate and encourage architects, engineers, contractors and ready-mix producers to adopt more sustainable products in order to lower the industry’s carbon footprint. We owe it to ourselves, future generations, and the communities where we live to maximize the use of low carbon cement wherever we can. This is how we build now.”