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Brett Ruffing  
Meet Concrete Thinker Brett Ruffing

At age 25, Brett Ruffing of the Kentucky Ready Mixed Concrete Association is already a Concrete Thinker. Active in his local USGBC chapter, Ruffing helps spread the word about concrete applications for sustainable construction across the Bluegrass state. He notes that innovative applications such as pervious pavements and insulating concrete forms (ICFs) can put concrete’s unique characteristics to work for a number of sustainable building projects.

Read more about this Concrete Thinker.


Pervious concrete parking lot

Best in Class Sustainable Pavements Call for Pervious Concrete

Use of pervious concrete is among the Best Management Practices (BMP) recommended by the EPA and other agencies for the management of storm water runoff. Pervious concrete can lower overall project costs on a first-cost basis, reduce operational costs, and allow developers to increase utilization of available property.

Learn more about the basics, appropriate applications, consideration, and environmental benefit details of pervious concrete pavements.



Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo)  facility



A Jeffersonian Approach to Green Building Among the Bluegrass

Since 1974, the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) has been representing the needs of county government throughout the Commonwealth. When the not-for-profit decided to build a new facility for its operations, it looked to founding father Thomas Jefferson for inspiration and fashioned it after Monticello.

With a variety of concrete applications weaved into structure’s bones and aesthetics, the building and design teams relied on market-competitive methods of conserving water and supplying energy to the development through the use of technologically advanced strategies. Pervious pavements and other smart strategies encourage storm water infiltration and reduce the rate of run-off.

To reduce the project’s embodied energy, 30% of the building materials contain recycled content including recycled concrete for all engineered fill. Due to the project’s Midwest shipping location, more than 40% were manufactured and harvested within 500 miles of the site. One architect involved in the project described the building as hyper-local.

Read more about this LEED Gold certified building.



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Proceedings from NRMCA Conference Archived Online

Proceedings from the sixth annual International Concrete Sustainability Conference, hosted by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, have been archived and are available online. The conference featured discussions and lectures on the latest advances, technical knowledge, continuing research, tools and solutions for sustainable concrete manufacturing and construction. Topics available in the proceedings include a sustainable index for concrete, differential durability, chemical admixtures of the future, and sustainability and constructability.

Search and download the proceedings. To learn more about future conferences, visit ConcreteTechnologyForum.org.




National Association of Realtors building, Washington, DC



Marrying Disaster Resilience with Sustainability Building Codes

Steve Skalko, PCA’s manager of regional codes services, recently participated in an invitation-only roundtable discussion in Arlington, Va., to discuss standards for disaster resilience. The ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel coordinated the roundtable session with a goal of identifying gaps in current codes and standards and to develop a framework for adding disaster resilience to codes.

Skalko reported on PCA’s high performance building requirements for sustainability (HPBRS) approach to the International Building Code and the concept of placing disaster resilience features into appendices of building codes as an option for communities that want to adopt more resilient building codes.



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Holcim's Midlothian Plant Becomes EPA Green Power Partner

Holcim (US) Inc. announced last week that its Midlothian, Texas, plant has qualified for a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Partnership and is now an EPA Green Power Partner. As a result, Holcim is among a select group of leaders in the green power market whose commitment to green power is accelerating the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

The EPA Green Power Partnership is available to renewable energy leaders whose green power use meets or exceeds EPA's requirements. Partner organizations must buy green power in amounts proportional to their annual electricity use.

Cement Plants Receive EPA's ENERGY STAR® Distinction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ENERGY STAR® is the national symbol for protecting the environment through superior energy performance. In order to qualify for the award, a plant must score at least 75 of a possible 100 on the Energy Performance Indicator (EPI), used by the EPA to measure energy efficiency in cement plants. In addition, the plant must have a three-year history of environmental compliance.

The Salt River Materials Group Phoenix Cement plant in Clarkdale, Ariz., was recently honored with the ENERGY STAR® label. The plant received its first label in 2007 and has labeled every year thereafter with a perfect EPI score of 100 from 2008-2011.

Holcim (U.S.) Inc. plants in Bloomsdale (Ste. Genevieve), Mo., Holly Hill, S.C., Florence (Portland), Colo., and Morgan (Devil's Slide), Utah, earned ENERGY STAR status. 2011 marks the fourth consecutive year the Devil’s Slide plant has received this honor and the second time for the Holly Hill and Ste. Genevieve plants.



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Start the Year Off Strong at World of Concrete

Green-minded contractors are encouraged to visit PCA (Booth C4221) at the upcoming World of Concrete/World of Masonry, January 24-27, in Las Vegas. PCA’s expert staff and partners will be on hand to answer questions related to building green with concrete.

As a co-sponsor of the largest, most comprehensive concrete and masonry event, PCA offers free admission and a discount on seminars to anyone who registers through its website.

Showcasing the Sustainable Benefits of Concrete Home Building

For more than two decades, the proven performance of concrete home building has been on full display at the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS). PCA’s booth (W2383) is the anchor tenant of The Concrete Pavilion for the Feb. 8-11 event in Orlando. The Concrete Pavilion offers a one-stop opportunity for visitors to learn more about innovative, sustainable concrete homebuilding solutions. Attendees can witness how smart homebuilders stand out from their peers by choosing concrete to achieve profitable, high performance construction, while offering real value to their customers.


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Portland Cement Association
5420 Old Orchard Road
Skokie, IL 60077
847.966.6200 • Fax: 847.966.9666
email: info@concretethinker.com