Agency eclipses typical government pace with embodied carbon action

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration were set for center stage this year thanks to Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding and contract activity. Yet a sister agency with its $75 billion building and pavement contracting budget is stealing some of the thunder.  The General Services Administration is capturing attention with its Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Standards…

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Cement, concrete, and carbon conversation turns to intellectual honesty and plausibility

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) survey of cement and concrete production builds on U.S. General Services Administration measures, noted here last month, to guide federal construction procurement policy toward lower embodied carbon levels in finished structures. Along with the Departments of Defense and Transportation, General Services stands to favor material or product specifications backed by carbon data presented in…

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Federal agencies trigger a third flourish for Environmental Product Declarations

Our coverage of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for ready mixed and manufactured concrete dates to 2013. The record of producers and their national associations responding to market signals calling for such documents continues to be exemplary.  This past month saw a third turning point in EPDs’ evolution from a target of green building practitioners, to data files for the Embodied…

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Hemp fiber adds to FRP buzz

Carbon, glass and basalt fiber manufacturers are improving their concrete market prospects by pursuing certification for fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement. FRP bar and tendons offer compelling alternatives to traditional reinforcements for bridge decks, pavements, marine structures and other conditions whose chemical exposure invites steel corrosion. FRP is also attracting attention for its potential to lower embodied carbon in finished…

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Industry leaders ace climate audit

By Don Marsh Three of the top five global cement, aggregate and concrete producers made the 2021 Climate Disclosure Project A List, reflecting transparency in environmental impact, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management and water resource metrics. Cemex S.A.B. de C.V., HeidelbergCement AG and Holcim AG are among 200 A List/Climate category performers from a pool of 10,000-plus companies. London-based Climate…

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Asset gains and carbon cuts equal an extraordinary year

By Don Marsh The close of any other calendar might confine this column to revisiting a merger and acquisition wave across ready mixed and manufactured concrete, but 2021 could be remembered as much for carbon dioxide emissions action as cement, aggregate and concrete production investment. On the latter front, stock prices for public companies and high valuations for private peers…

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General Shale-Meridian order serves as latest case of antitrust law limits

By Don Marsh The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division ordered General Shale and Meridian Brick LLC to divest three plants, 14 showrooms and distribution yards, plus six mines in a proposed settlement of an antitrust lawsuit challenging the producers’ merger, consummated early last month. The agency filed the settlement and suit-triggering complaint in the U.S. District Court for the…

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Bid-rigging contractor discovers law federal agencies choose to enforce

By Don Marsh In an age of opponent cancellation and selective federal, state or local law enforcement, a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) plea agreement with an employee of a contractor performing concrete work for Minnesota municipalities offers two takeaways. First, despite Herculean efforts, the current White House has some unfinished business in its quest to erase all things Donald…

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Sound carbon guidance

By Don Marsh An energy market-driven nonprofit, RMI, offers credible perspective in its just-released Concrete Solutions Guide, geared to construction interests taking stock of the carbon dioxide emissions factor behind their project materials, products and methods. Posted at www.rmi.org, the document presents specific opportunities for “a nearly ubiquitous material with a sizable climate impact” and expands on the need to…

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Industry prepped for Buy Clean era

BY DON MARSH A Carbon Leadership Forum team updates us this month on the trajectory of procurement policy compelling suppliers or contractors to include environmental product declarations (EPDs) in public building and infrastructure project bids. Laws or pending legislation reference declarations abiding International Organization for Standardization terms, which strive for data uniformity and apples to apples comparison of material or…

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