By the year 2030, the U.S. population is expected to grow by 63 million, resulting in an increased demand for housing, buildings, and roads. Yet, at the same time, our society is struggling to balance these construction needs today with critical environmental priorities.

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced an initiative to recognize public officials who take the lead in green building. The annual "Sustainable Leadership Awards" will honor government leaders who advance sustainable development in their communities through the use of concrete and cement-based products. PCA encourages all members of the concrete industry to submit nominations.

"There are few, if any, construction materials that offer concrete's wide range of sustainable and environmental benefits," says PCA president and CEO Brian McCarthy. "This award will recognize government officials who share our passion for green construction and recognize concrete's unrivaled benefits in terms of energy efficiency, durability, and ability to be recycled."

Concrete and cement-based products provide environmental benefits during construction, after occupancy, and if the structure is demolished. Buildings with exterior concrete walls utilize less energy to heat and cool than similarly insulated buildings with wood or steel frame walls. The material can be readily recycled and reused as base materials for roads, sidewalks, and concrete slabs, sparing the use of new materials. Pervious concrete is recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a best practice for stormwater management.

The PCA Sustainable Leadership Awards will showcase these and other benefits of concrete construction. Four categories will be recognized. The Leadership in Sustainability Policy Award honors public officials who advance policies that promote the concept of sustainable development by advocating for and promoting the use of concrete and cement-based products in their communities.

Additionally, three award categories honor specific projects in three areas: Homes and Residential Building, Non-Residential Building, and Infrastructure. These awards honor public officials who utilize cement or cement-based products to achieve sustainable benefits for projects in each of these categories. Buildings and activities must have occurred between Jan. 1, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2007 to be eligible. The deadline to submit final entries is May 30, 2008.

For more information and to access the nomination form, visit

This article is a press release from the Portland Cement Association. It was not written by a member of the CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION editorial staff.