Recently, I wrote about sustainability and the concrete industry in our e-newsletter, the Concrete Construction Business Update. Since then, the buzz surrounding sustainability and the impact it can, and will, have on the concrete industry has continued to grow.
Most trade shows and conferences attended by Concrete Construction editors this year have addressed sustainable concrete in some context. The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association's 2008 Concrete Technology Forum, Focus on Sustainable Development, held in late May, was one of the better examples of the concrete industry embracing sustainability. I know the event was geared toward concrete producers, but how many of our readers interact with concrete producers on a regular basis? Most of you, yes. As concrete producers become more involved creating sustainable mix designs, it is only a matter of time before the mix designs trickle down to you, if they haven't already.
Concrete Construction editors also attended Construct 2008 this past June in Las Vegas. Geared toward architects, Construct 2008 featured a wide variety of sustainable products and technical sessions, many of which focused on concrete. Convincing architects to specify concrete and concrete-related technology may be a difficult transition toward advancing the role of concrete in sustainable construction. However, progress is being made, as concrete continues to pique architects creative interests.
I know some of you think the sustainability movement is only a trend, and that architects, concrete producers, and contractors ultimately will specify, mix, and build the same way they have always done. But some contractors I have spoken to are becoming more involved in the sustainability movement—many are attending technical training programs on pervious concrete, to name just one example.
For those contractors that have not researched sustainable concrete, this issue includes a primer on what it takes to become a green contractor (see “Choosing to be Green,” page 51).
Concrete Construction helps lead the sustainability movement as evidence by our GreenSite Projects of the Year contest. Held in conjunction with our sister publication The Concrete Producer, the GreenSite Projects of the Year article on page 59 highlights three projects determined by Concrete Construction editors that best exemplify sustainability in regards to a concrete-related construction project. A total of 17 projects were submitted for the GreenSite Projects of the Year, and you can view the projects that did not make our top three on our Web site (www.concreteconstruction.net).
Setting the tone for sustainable concrete and concrete-related technology is critical for our industry. Whether it is engineering new superstructures to reach record heights using high-strength concrete or achieving higher FF and FL numbers for superflat warehouse floors, it is imperative that each day of construction build on the previous day. As more and more contractors embrace sustainable concrete, the concrete industry will be recognized as more than just a foundation for the sustainability movement.