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Concrete professionals broaden their understanding of sustainable products at a pervious concrete seminar and demonstration hosted by the PCA in Skokie, Ill.

If the concrete industry's sustainability efforts were represented in color, the palette would range from sage to forest green. Most of us seem to be in the same spectrum, but as a group, we tend to get caught up in disagreements over our own favorite hues. The Strategic Development Council (SDC), a council of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Foundation, hopes to change how we think, as it works toward publishing a Concrete Sustainability Vision Document.

In 2005, ACI and the Portland Cement Association (PCA) envisioned a concrete sustainability initiative that would provide education and insight into the green movement, assess its potential impact on and opportunities for the industry, identify a common industry vision, and establish common goals. The main message: The sustainability movement can be a tremendous opportunity, rather than a threat, for our industry.

Since then, representatives from all segments of the industry have worked toward these goals through their involvement with the SDC. Supporting associations have included the American Society of Concrete Contractors, the National Concrete Masonry Association, the National Precast Concrete Association, the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute.

Recently, leaders from the SDC and ACI met with Brian McCarthy, the PCA's new president and CEO, to discuss this sustainability initiative. Appropriately, the group convened at World of Concrete in Las Vegas. “Concrete sustainability is a crucial issue in the industry right now,” said Doug Sordyl, SDC managing director. “And with the continued assistance of PCA, we will be able to move this initiative forward with much success.”

McCarthy confirmed the PCA's commitment, saying, “PCA applauds ACI's efforts to bring the technical sectors of the industry together to work on standards and measurements for sustainability. Complimenting these technical efforts, PCA maintains its focus on broader discussions with our concrete/cement partners.

“This includes educating end-users on the important role concrete plays in sustainable development and recognizing those who advance concrete's role in green construction.”