Environmental and Health Disclosures Were Key Focus at BuildWell 2014

NRMCA Vice President, Sustainability, Tien Peng, recently participated in the BuildWell 2014 Conference, a gathering of deep-green building practitioners held in Sausalito, CA. The conference played host to world-renowned speakers and a network of participants that affects the way building materials are specified, including Architecture2030, Warner-Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, Cradle-2-Cradle, Health Product Declaration Collaborative, U.S. Green Building Council, Webcor, U.S. EPA, ARUP, Google, Facebook and Gensler. Environmental disclosures and product transparency was a key focus of the event.

Keynote speaker Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture2030, challenged our specifiers to encourage manufacturers to develop their Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Industry Average EPDs and a plan to achieve the 2030 Challenge for Products. Demonstrating the market value of taking a sustainable leadership position, Bay Area’s Central Concrete’s Ryan Henkensiefken presented the case for low-carbon concrete. Mazria as well as other participants complimented the concrete industry initiatives, but noted more companies must work to understand their environmental and health impacts with EPDs and HPDs.

NRMCA has three initiatives to help members achieve these product disclosure goals. NRMCA established its EPD Program Operator status under strict international standards by which EPDs are developed and verified (certified) in order to help concrete producers and suppliers meet new disclosure requirements cost effectively. NRMCA is also developing an industry-wide EPD so that members can compare their environmental impacts to industry baselines. Another project, funded by the RMC Research & Education Foundation, will provide a methodology and guide for concrete producers to report material ingredients and chemical constituents of their products.

For more information on these programs, go to www.nrmca.org/sustainability, or contact Tien Peng at tpeng@nrmca.org or 206-913-8535.

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association