Q: Are concrete contractors really committed to green issues? Or are they just paying it lip service to get jobs?
A: Green was everywhere you looked at this year's World of Concrete, although attendance at the GreenSite displays and presentations was sparse. But the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) is making a real effort, having recently launched a new Sustainability Committee with Tommy Ruttura of Ruttura & Sons Construction, West Babylon, N.Y., as chairman.
At a roundtable discussion led by Ruttura at ASCC's most recent meeting, the discussion centered on two issues: making a contractor's own internal operations more sustainable/energy efficient and incorporating sustainability practices into a jobsite. Ruttura noted that he now requires all of his workers to drive cars that get at least 23 mpg—so he is committed. “I think some contractors, such as Ruttura, Sundt, Webcor, Colorado Hardscapes, and T.B. Penick are true believers,” says ASCC executive director Bev Garnant. “Others are going along grudgingly. But the important thing for a contractor is being able to speak the language of sustainability, understanding what's being discussed.” With the current state of the economy, she concludes that there are fewer jobs and more bidders, so if a contractor can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, that could make the difference on some projects. As far as internal operations, who's against running a more energy-efficient operation? When profit margins are this tight, cutting expenses is the name of the game.