The other night, millions of fellow baseball fans watched Ichiro Suzuki accept the keys to his very own hybrid car for being named Most Valuable Player at the All Star Game. True, the game was in San Francisco, an area known for environmental activism. But the hero of our national pastime's showcase won a "green" car! Trend watchers on Madison Avenue must believe green is cool and profitable.
It's about time society caught up to us concrete folks. We've been touting green and sustainability for years, often to half-filled rooms of fellow believers. Our efforts started with the Environmental Council of Concrete Organizations (ECCO). And now it seems everyone is involved with some version of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and other sustainable code initiatives.
In fact, it's been a challenge to keep up with the green movement. From cool roofs to pervious pavements, concrete promoters, researchers, producers, and contractors are continually introducing methods with which to cure our environmental challenges with concrete. But is it too much of a good thing?
Keeping up with the green and sustainable construction movement would be a full-time job if it wasn't for us here. In the last few weeks, we have posted a number of interesting news items on this topic. And next month's issue of the magazine will cover some interesting trends in this area.
But my real question is: Are all our efforts in concert? I'm worried that the concrete industry is about to be cast aside in the sea of green building. We have a number of small initiatives that are locally effective, but often compete against other concrete concepts.
Is it time for our own concrete sustainability rating system? Who is more qualified than our industry experts to provide guidance to designers and engineers of concrete's contribution to environmental stewardship? Unless we come back together as an industry, competing materials such as steel, plastic, and oil will continue their divide and conquer marketing efforts.
I think it's time to grow green together. What do you think?