National Mixer Driver Championship: A much-warranted workforce salute

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Workforce Development Committee did not sugarcoat the results of its 2021 Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey. As we noted in a report last month, survey data shows that 28 of every 100 drivers hired in 2021 quit during the year. That placed ready mixed producers 3 points above the national resignation rate the…

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Carbon policies ignite fires under federal agency seats

A hastily conducted first quarter survey spawning the General Services Administration’s Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Standards, noted here in May, set the table for comparably quick, parallel action by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency (note Federal Buy Clean Initiative, page 13), plus the Department of Energy (DOE). The latter’s new “Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap” identifies pathways—Energy Efficiency; Industrial…

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Steelmakers’ carbon emissions study template suits cement counterparts

By Don Marsh A new study, “SMA/CRU Emissions Analysis,” concludes that the output of Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) members—electric arc furnace (EAF) operators in the U.S.—has a carbon intensity approximately 75 percent lower than that of peers running traditional blast furnaces. The EAF process underpins nearly 100 percent of concrete reinforcing steel and 70 percent of overall tonnage milled in…

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‘Safety’ advocates prove unpersuasive in drivers’ hours exemption challenge

A late-July U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision denies a petition to review a final rule expanding a short-haul exemption and modifying a 30-minute break requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours of service regulation. The former action entailed a maximum duty period change from 12 to 14 hours, securing HOS compliance flexibility that National…

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Eco Material and Cemex define Green Bond-rated investments

Our cover story subject has hit the ground running since its official launch from an early-2022, $775 million deal uniting Boral Resources, North American fly ash top gun, and Green Cement Inc., Texas-centric developer of PozzoSlag supplementary cementitious material and PozzoCem primary binder.  We catch South Jordan, Utah-based Eco Material Technologies Inc. at an unfolding inflection point. In a span…

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Industry producers cruise ahead of CO2 emissions reporting rule

Examples of carbon dioxide emissions reporting by public cement, concrete and aggregate producers accompany an overview of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission-proposed “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors” rule (pages 12-13). Through guidance detailing environmental metrics, operators like Charah Solutions, Holcim Ltd., Summit Materials and Vulcan Materials rise to a familiar position: Ahead of the regulatory…

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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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