In an effort to help concrete producers reduce their carbon footprint, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), a non-profit representing the producers of ready mixed concrete, announced that it has signed on to the 2030 Challenge for Products.
The 2030 Challenge for Products is a global challenge to specify and manufacture products that meet a carbon footprint of 30 percent below the product average through 2014 and subsequently improve on this reduction: 35 percent in 2015; 40 percent in 2020; 45 percent in 2025; and 50 percent in 2030. Issued by Architecture 2030, the 2030 Challenge for Products builds on the widely adopted original 2030 Challenge, which calls for the operation of all new buildings and major renovations to be carbon neutral by 2030.
In support of the challenge, NRMCA has become an EPD Program Operator to facilitate the development and verification of EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) and establish industry baselines for concrete. EPDs are third-party verified reports published by product manufacturers that provide quality assured and comparable information regarding environmental performance of their products. NRMCA has also helped develop a Product Category Rule (PCR) that provides instructions on how to conduct and report EPDs.
The concrete industry is uniquely positioned to meet the challenge of reducing carbon footprint: high performance concrete wall and floor systems help improve energy performance of buildings, light-colored pavements reduce urban heat islands and minimize lighting requirements and concrete is extremely durable and provides for long service life thus reducing maintenance and waste. As the industry continues to develop new sustainable products through research and development, concrete’s embodied footprint will continue to decrease.
“Through NRMCA’s participation in the process of establishing industry baselines and facilitating the movement toward product reporting through EPDs, we hope to accelerate the concrete industry’s movement toward meeting the 2030 Challenge,” says Robert Garbini, NRMCA’s president.
Edward Mazria, CEO and founder of Architecture 2030 adds, “This is precisely the kind of industry program that can help the Building Sector meet its targets to lower GHG emissions. We’re incredibly encouraged by the leadership NRMCA is providing to drive innovation and reduce the carbon footprint of their industry.”
NRMCA’s commitment to sustainability was outlined in the 2009 report titled “NRMCA Sustainability Initiatives,” which provides a vision along with strategies and goals for lowering the environmental footprint of concrete and details research, education and measurement programs to help its members meet these goals. Further carbon footprint reduction strategies are being explored through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Concrete Sustainability Hub, which was established in 2009 through generous funding from the RMC Research & Education Foundation. The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub is exploring ways to reduce carbon footprint of buildings and pavements through the use of advanced concrete building systems and through the development of innovative cements and concrete mixtures, improved manufacturing processes, use of alternative energy sources, and enhanced transportation efficiency.