Low Carbon Concrete Bill Advances in New York
According to the United Nations Environment Program, the built environment, including the construction industry, is responsible for more than 38% of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Concrete, the most common construction material in the world, is a top offender; its key ingredient — cement — is the source of up to 7% of the world’s CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.
Low Carbon Concrete Approaches
Companies like CarbonCure and Belfast Valley Contractors have rolled out products that take a variety of approaches to lower the CO2 emissions and energy consumption of concrete production. CarbonCure integrates CO2 that has been captured and converted into a mineral, which it reports reduces 25 pounds of CO2 per cubic yard of concrete. Other products substitute materials with lower CO2 emissions for a portion of the portland cement in concrete and incorporate recycled materials as an additive.
The public sector is one of the largest buyers of concrete, and some governments are leveraging that purchasing power to incentivize the use of cleaner products. In 2019, the Honolulu City Council passed a resolution calling on the city to consider using carbon-injected concrete when possible, and the Hawaii Department of Transportation said it would use the technology in all flat work. Marin County, California, developed practical requirements for concrete that reduces greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.