Although the leaves are changing colors in Pittsburgh this fall, ACI will keep things green. The ACI's fall convention, “Green Concrete in the Steel City,” takes place Oct. 24–28 in Pittsburgh's Westin Convention Center Hotel and David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
ACI's Pittsburgh Area Chapter saw an opportunity to promote the green aspects of its home city, as well as its preferred building material. Although the city has historically been associated with the steel industry, its downtown riverfront area is no longer dominated by steel mills. “The city has changed a lot in the last decade,” says Renée Lewis, ACI director of production and event services. “The local chapter wanted people to know about the revitalization efforts at the city, county, and state levels.”
After many of the steel mills closed, the city courted new industry and began to focus on green building. Today, Pittsburgh boasts nearly 40 new and existing LEED-certified buildings.
Even the convention site is sustainable. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center, a LEED Gold facility, claims to be the world's first green convention center. Among its many earth-friendly practices, the facility has its own gray water reclamation plant, uses fresh air for ventilation, and uses indigenous plants for landscaping.
Green resources and events
Sustainability will be a major theme during more than 300 committee meetings, 30 technical meetings, forums, and tours throughout the week. Each day, attendees will have the chance to attend at least one green concrete seminar or event.
On Saturday before the convention, the ACI Concrete Sustainability Forum III will set the tone. The event will feature a comprehensive overview of the current construction environment around the world. Discussions will include the development of ISO/TC 71/SC 8 standards and identifying ways to reduce environmental impact and foster sustainability in the concrete industry.
Several of the sessions are approved for continuing education credit by the U.S. Green Building Council and American Institute of Architects, and many were developed with the Sustainability of Concrete Committee—one of ACI's fastest-growing groups. It began in 2008 and already has seven subcommittees.
“The Sustainability of Concrete Committee is working with other committees to weave the green message through ACI's efforts and documents,” says Lewis. “Sustainability is more top-of-mind for ACI members because they are seeing its impact in their businesses, and being asked to work on green projects.” She hopes green topics will eventually become the norm instead of special sessions.
Outside of its convention, the ACI continues to promote sustainability. Its U.S. Green Concrete Council, established in 2009, has published a book, The Sustainable Concrete Guide—Strategies and Examples. A second book, available this fall, will focus on materials and applications. The ACI is also a founding member of the Joint Sustainability Initiative, a group of industry organizations focused on the sustainable development applications of all concrete structures.