Earlier this year, our sister magazine, The Concrete Producer, asked its readers about the current state of the sustainabilty movement in the construction/concrete industry.

Usually, the results are quite predictable and, occasionally, only mildly surprising. But this one really threw me. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said the movement is losing momentum, while only 24% said it was gaining momentum. The other 19% said it had reached a plateau. So only one in four readers in the concrete production industry think the sustainability movement is getting stronger.

The results are noteworthy across all facets of the concrete construction industry. My guess is manufacturers and contractors are doing more to help the environment than they realize. Manufacturers are formulating products that are more environmentally friendly than 10 or just five years ago. Contractors are buying them without realizing their benefits. In fact, it might be difficult finding many products that do not contribute to sustainability.

Also, every time a contractor polishes a concrete floor, he contributes to sustainability. Polished concrete is a natural fit for properties designed to earn LEED certification, according to our story on the LEED system, "A Ground Floor Opportunity." “A value-driven case for polished concrete would include durability and practicality,” says Amanda Tullos, LEED AP and principal with GreeNexus Consulting in Bellaire, Texas. In all, polished concrete may contribute toward LEED certification in nine different areas.

Also, in "Preserve and Protect," you will learn how a polished concrete floor helped a new public safety building earn LEED Silver certification in Canada.

As you can see, this issue includes ways the concrete industry helps the environment. That doesn’t look like lost momentum to me. I would be interested in learning whether you think the sustainability movement is strengthening in the concrete surfaces industry.


Top 10 Spots for Green Building in the U.S.

Washington, D.C. leads the nation for LEED-certified projects, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The nation’s capital leads the nation, with more than 25 square feet of LEED-certified space per person in 2010. Nevada is the leading state with 10.92 square feet per person.

“2010 was a difficult year for most of the building industry, but in many areas, the hunger for sustainable development kept the markets moving,” says Scot Horst, USGBC’s vice president of LEED.

The top 10 LEED states per capita, including Washington, D.C., in square feet per person:

1. Washington, D.C. 25.15
2. Nevada 10.92
3. New Mexico 6.35
4. New Hampshire 4.49
5. Oregon 4.07
6. South Carolina 3.19
7. Washington 3.16
8. Illinois 3.09
9. Arkansas 2.9
10. Colorado 2.85
Source: USGBC