Each year, World of Concrete (WOC) is a launching place for new equipment, innovative ideas, and revolutionary technologies. Exhibitors compete for your attention with their latest and greatest, and the Most Innovative Products contest showcases the past year's newest product offerings. Each year, attendees can attend a wide range of events, including training sessions.

WOC 2008, held this past January in Las Vegas, was no different as it once again revealed the top trends in concrete construction. Additionally, several trends became apparent to the 85,000 attendees as the week progressed.

Concrete leads to green

Sustainability has moved front and center over this past year, not just as a popular trend, but a main focus of large-scale construction projects around the world, finding its way into industry associations' initiatives, and as a featured topic at conferences.

The proof is in the numbers: This year it's projected that $21.2 billion will be spent on green-building principles in the nonresidential market, a 58% increase over 2006, according to the 2008 FMI U.S. Construction Overview.

THE CONCRETE PRODUCER's Economic Summit painted a hazy-gray picture for 2008, pointing to a recession not only for the residential market but possibly for other construction segments as well.
Bryan Haraway / Getty Images THE CONCRETE PRODUCER's Economic Summit painted a hazy-gray picture for 2008, pointing to a recession not only for the residential market but possibly for other construction segments as well.

Pushed by government agencies—more than 100 bills focused on green-building legislation have been presented in 2007. The practicality of reusing materials and the appeal of reducing costs have each influenced the interest in sustainability.

At GreenSite, a newly added pavilion in the South Hall, not only were products showcased to help the contractor and producer build green, but speakers discussed sustainable construction and what that entails. Thermal mass, CO2 emissions, and using less material were three main themes.

Building green was also a hot topic at the Women in Concrete and at the Concrete Polishing luncheon and forums. Even though the two events attracted very different audiences, the guest speakers delivered similar messages: building with sustainability in mind is here to stay, and concrete can help you accomplish that goal. Pervious concrete piqued attendees' interest at GreenSite and Shana Young of Smith's Ready Mix, Hot Springs, Ark., presented a case study on its use in her state expanding on the various environmental advantages.

“Pervious concrete helps to keep the world a little cleaner, a little greener, for those coming after us,” Young said.

LEED and how it can help the contractor, the producer, and everyone in between was a welcomed topic, especially with the economic predictions looming over the industry. “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” isn't just a catch phrase to help save the environment but a means to help your bottom line.