The cement and concrete industry supports our communities facing the realities of climate change with a stronger, sustainable infrastructure and is committed to working with partners to promote sustainable development initiatives that reduce the impact of production.
For more than four decades, the cement industry has increased energy efficiency and reduced emissions in the manufacturing of cement. This industry was one of the first to address climate issues in the mid-1990’s and over the last 47 years, manufacturers have reduced energy consumption by more than 35% while actually increasing production. Per recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR® data, cement plants have reduced energy-related carbon emissions by 1.5 million metric tons, annually. Cement manufacturers have been a leader in the use of alternative fuels, including plastic bottles and tires from landfills, to reduce carbon emissions.
When cement is combined with water, sand and other crushed rocks to form concrete, it’s able to make buildings more energy efficient, roads more fuel efficient, and requires less maintenance over its lifetime versus other materials. In large cities, concrete reduces the urban heat island effect, lowering the amount of energy required for cooling large cities.
Concrete can be recycled, repurposed and re-used over time saving infrastructure resources and minimizing energy, time and money spent on new construction. Concrete’s sustainable characteristics can contribute to points toward the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program.
What most people don’t realize is that concrete permanently captures carbon in the atmosphere in a process commonly referred to as carbonation, offsetting the emissions of cement manufacturing over the life of the structure.
Considered across their full lifecycle, cement and concrete contribute to a more efficient circular economy, securing a sustainable future that lasts for generations.