As our leaders in Washington, D.C., consider an economic stimulus package that will provide much-needed funding for the construction and rehabilitation of the nation's infrastructure, public officials at every level must make certain that funds are used in the most sustainable and cost-effective manner. Put simply, our infrastructure needs to stand the test of time, be environmentally friendly and make the most of limited dollars, while stimulating the economy through job creation.

Concrete is a key ingredient of the roads and highways, bridges, dams, schools and other public buildings and sewer and water treatment projects that make up our essential infrastructure. Concrete is also an integral component of affordable, sustainable and economically sound infrastructure construction and rehabilitation.

To heighten state and local decision makers' understanding of the importance of cement and concrete to green building, and as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) established the Sustainable Leadership Awards in 2008. This annual initiative identifies and honors government leaders who advance sustainable development in their communities through the use of concrete and cement-based products.

"There are few, if any, construction materials that offer concrete's wide range of sustainable and cost effective benefits," said PCA President and CEO Brian McCarthy. "This award recognizes government officials who share our passion for sustainability and recognize concrete's unrivaled benefits in terms of energy efficiency and durability."

PCA is calling on members of the building industry to submit nominations for the 2009 Sustainable Leadership Awards. 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. Other categories include 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 January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2008, to be eligible. The deadline to submit final entries is May 29, 2009. For more information and to access the nomination form, visit

2008 Sustainable Leadership Award Winners In 2008, winners from Fort Worth, Texas; Glendale, Ariz.; Chicago, Ill.; Leawood, Kan.; Hancock, N.H.; Salem, Ore.; Dallas, Texas; and Lubbock, Texas, were recognized for using new innovations and technologies that resulted in immense environmental benefits and cost savings.

Pervious Concrete
The Park and Ride facility in Glendale, Ariz., represents the largest use of pervious concrete in the Southwest today, with more than 140,000 square feet. The lack of water resources and arid climate made it essential that this large structure allow for total drainage of rainfall to replenish the ground water aquifers. Pervious concrete also alleviates the major concerns of urban heat island effect and contributes to effective stormwater management, considerations taken into account when the City of Leawood, Kan. built its I-Lan Park parking lot using pervious concrete.

Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs)
Both Salem, Ore., and Lubbock, Texas, have emerged as leaders in constructing energy-efficient, disaster-resistant concrete homes using ICF technology. These projects not only provide safe and comfortable homes for Lubbock families and Salem seniors, but ICF home residents also see a dramatic savings on monthly heating and cooling bills.

Full-depth Reclamation (FDR)
Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and Hancock, N.H., have used concrete to reconstruct nearly 500 lane miles of roadways - representing a savings of more than 40 percent per lane mile from traditional repair of failed asphalt roads - and drastically reducing road repair debris in landfills.

Urban Environmental Initiatives
In Chicago, Ill., the "Chicago Green Homes" program encourages residential builders, developers and homeowners to use technologies, products and practices that will build or refurbish homes in ways that save energy, dollars and the environment. Thanks to the "Green Roof Grant" program, Chicago is home to more than 200 green roofs, covering 2.5 million square feet, more than any other U.S. city. The city's "Green Alleys" program helps to manage storm water, reduce heat in urban areas, promote recycling and conserve energy.