NOVEMBER 2009 COULD be the most important month for environmentalism in our industry's history. How you and your colleagues respond may determine just how far our industry pushes concrete into construction's environmental mainstream.

There was to be an important workshop at ACI's meeting in New Orleans this month. Organizers had planned to provide information and resources with which attendees could identify opportunities on how to incorporate sustainable initiatives in ACI committee work, other organizational activities, and in their careers. The goal was to empower participants to make necessary changes to design, build, and specify buildings and infrastructure in more sustainable ways.

ACI has been tardy in adopting its leadership role in concrete environmentalism. This meeting must continue the sustainable initiative begun about a year ago.

There was another important element to this workshop. ACI members were asked to provide the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) TC71/SC8 information. The ISO group is developing a new standard on environmental management for concrete and concrete structures. The ACI effort could help foster more fair treatment of our structures in the rapidly developing standards.

Greenbuild, the tradeshow dedicated to sustainable construction, took place later that week in Phoenix. According to Dave Shepherd, PCA's director of sustainable development, Greenbuild has rapidly become the design community's most important show for sustainability. I'll speak with Shepherd when he returns to hear how the concrete industry's message is being received. We must convince our design partners that concrete is a true solution to sustainability.

Locally, producers will be busy updating their sustainable marketing initiatives. The RMC Research & Education Foundation recently released the “Third Edition of the Ready Mixed Concrete Industry LEED Reference Guide.” This revised edition incorporates LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED 2009 NC) information. Producers will learn concrete may contribute to gaining LEED points for construction projects seeking certification in the USGBC's LEED certification system.

Using the LEED Guide, producers must convince their customers that they can enhance the sustainability of concrete. It's important to show that the industry has the tools to educate specifiers and architects on how concrete can help projects earn additional LEED points.

Finally, we have announced our annual GreenSite awards, the only industry award program whose focus is the producer and contractor. Your involvement in every green project is the key element to success. You also can find our award winners online. Our second annual GreenSite Luncheon takes place Feb. 4 at World of Concrete in Las Vegas. Learn how contractors have embraced green building procedures.

But there are some dark clouds on the horizon, as there's the possibility that fly ash may become a regulated product. (See my blog at our Web site for details.) Visit the American Coal Ash Association at www.acaa-usa.org to learn the current status of the potential EPA regulations.

Editor in Chief