This year, THE CONCRETE PRODUCER, with our sister publication, CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION, introduced the GreenSite Project of the Year con contest honoring the concrete community's efforts to promote concrete's role in creating eco-friendly structures that will stand the test of time.

The name “GreenSite” reflects the innovative processes and materials that create a green building project, many of which are invisible in the final product. For instance, visitors to the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Wisconsin breathe air that is pretreated by an underground concrete pipe ventilation system. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, lightweight CarbonCast walls protect residents of the Symphony House condominiums from the elements, while using less energy and fewer materials than traditional concrete panels.

TCP's 2008 GreenSite winners each represent a different category: Institutional, Commercial, Multifamily, Residential, and High-rise. For more details and photos of each project, click here.

To learn how to participate in next year's GreenSite Project of the Year, click here.


Grand Rapids Art Museum Grand Rapids, Mich.

When planning for the new Grand Rapids Art Museum, project officials and donors decided to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification “with a vengeance,” to make it the world's first newly built, LEED-certified art museum. They eventually exceeded this goal with a Gold level certification by incorporating green design elements and sustainable building materials.

Concrete was an important contributor to the project's sustainability and design flexibility. Of the many elements brought to life in this 135,000-square-foot building, the architectural concrete exterior stands out as one of its most beautiful components. At the same time, the museum's 12-inch-thick, cast-in-place concrete walls optimize energy use by keeping the building warm or cold.

Inside, exposed concrete walls feature tie holes aligned in rows and columns, and defined corners and reveals. A sequence of 177 separate architectural concrete pours led to a one-of-a-kind forming system. The forms, which called for sharp corners, needed to be watertight around the tie holes and edges. Each pour had zero tolerance for rework, since patches were not allowed.

Concrete also helped meet LEED material requirements because much of it came from local sources, requiring less energy in transportation. The museum's 20,000 yards of 4000 to 6000 psi concrete contained 3% recycled content and 100% regional materials.

Other items that contribute to the sustainable quality of the museum include extensive use of natural light, gray water collection, management, and recycling, and an innovative mechanical system that uses energy recovery wheels to pre-condition incoming fresh air and lower energy requirements.