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Carbon Leadership Forum Announces Environmental Standards for Concrete Mixes Industry Adopts Carbon

For Immediate Release

Carbon Leadership Forum Announces Environmental Standards for Concrete Mixes
Industry Adopts Carbon Footprint Standards with PCRs and EPDs

Seattle, WA., November 12, 2012 - The Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), a broad alliance of researchers, associations and companies in the building industry, today announced the first U.S. environmental footprint standards, also known as Product Category Rules (PCRs), for concrete mixes. In addition, the alliance recognized Central Concrete as the first concrete supplier in the United States to adopt Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), which provide standardized, quantified product life-cycle information to enable comparisons among various products fulfilling the same function.
The CLF comprises a team of researchers from the University of Washington’s College of Built Environment, along with a diverse group of architects, engineers, academic researchers, concrete producers and construction professionals. Developing PCRs for building materials, including concrete was the first project the CLF initiated.

"Reducing the carbon footprint from concrete is one of the most significant actions that the building sector can take,” said Ed Mazria, founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization whose goal is to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the building sector by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed and constructed. “The Carbon Leadership Forum recognized this issue, and its members set in motion a process for developing clear rules to govern the environmental reporting for concrete mix designs.”
“The level of interest and participation in creating PCRs for concrete has been outstanding,” said Kate Simonen, director of the CLF and assistant professor in the Department of Architecture, at the University of Washington. “Key to our success was the alliance’s dedication to increase transparency, move the market forward and pursue the Architecture 2030 goals."

At GreenBuild 2012, the Carbon Leadership Forum announced the development of a PCR for concrete based on these objectives:

  • Support the targets of the 2030 Challenge for Products
  • Enable reporting of carbon footprint and other environmental impacts
  • Address allocation in methods consistent with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy
  • Address variability and uncertainty in data
  • Provide guidelines to make implementation by the industry both rigorous and simple

Carbon Leadership Forum members also announced that the critical infrastructure was in place to take the next steps: develop, verify, publish and promote EPDs for concrete mixes based on the PCRs. Often likened to a nutrition label, an EPD provides a summary of the environmental impacts and related information in a form that is accessible and consistent.


Key industry organizations supported these next steps with the following announcements:

  • Central Concrete, the San Francisco Bay Area leader in low-CO2 Concrete and a member of the Carbon Leadership Forum, announced that it is the first concrete supplier in the United States to adopt EPDs for concrete mixes and to formally pledge its support for the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products.
  • Climate Earth, a leader in carbon accounting tools and a founding member of the Carbon Leadership Form, announced that it is working with Central Concrete to create its scientifically based EPDs.
  • The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) announced it started its work as an EPD program operator, a designation enabling it to meet new provisions in all five drafts of LEED v4, Living Building Challenge, ASHRAE 189.1 Standard, International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products by certifying EPDs. As an EPD program operator, the NRMCA ensures that an independent verifier reviews and verifies each EPD developed under the NRMCA EPD program before certification.
  • Webcor Builders, a leading contractor and founding member of the Carbon Leadership Forum, announced that it has incorporated the review of EPDs as a significant factor in its procurement process.
  • Architecture 2030, an advisor to the Carbon Leadership Forum, announced its continuing advocacy for third-party verified EPDs and reductions in the carbon footprints of building products.
  • Degenkolb Engineers, a structural engineering firm and member of the Carbon Leadership Forum, announced that they are proud to have supported and participated in the development of the concrete PCR.  Degenkolb noted that this is an important step toward advancing the availability of environmental impact data for construction materials and will help the structural engineering and broader A/E/C industry better understand how to effectively reduce the impacts of the built environment.
  • Arup, an independent firm of designers, engineers, and technical specialists, and a member of the Carbon Leadership Forum, announced it has adopted specifications for an EPD into its standard cast-in-place concrete submittal requirements for sustainable projects, and will continue to seek similar opportunities in all building materials.

“We are pleased to be the first concrete supplier in the U.S. to adopt EPDs,” said Jeff Davis, vice president and general manager for Central Concrete. “The 2030 Challenge has ignited the interest of architects and engineers worldwide and has created a demand for transparency through PCRs and EPDs. Today this coalition, led by the Carbon Leadership Forum, has created the necessary elements to provide clear, scientifically based information that allows comparisons, promotes transparency and instills trust.”


About the Carbon Leadership Forum

The Carbon Leadership Forum is a broad alliance of researchers, associations and companies within the building industry dedicated to Two overarching goals: (1) To bring methods and data of life cycle assessment (LCA) to the design and construction practice and (2) Devise standards that will to account for and report carbon footprints of building products and systems. This industry-academic collaborative research effort is hosted by the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments. For more information visit:

The following resources are available within the electronic press kit:

  • Additional Press Release: Central Concrete Becomes First Ready Mix Supplier in the United States to Initiate Environmental Product Declarations and Adopt the 2030 Challenge for Products
  • Carbon Leadership Forum Quote Sheet
  • Carbon Leadership Forum Fact Sheet

To request interviews with the CLF members or to request assets, including logos, please contact Anne Banta, Central Concrete, at

Filed Under: Degenkolb, Engineering, Press Releases
Posted by lanachan on November 12, 2012 11:46 AM
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