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More Companies Getting Ahead of Push for Cleaner Concrete

Andrey Nyrkov/Alamy Stock Photo Andrey Nyrkov/Alamy Stock Photo
Leading industry companies are prioritizing sustainability and making the switch to cleaner portland limestone cement, which has almost identical strength, workability and durability as regular portland cement.

More and more companies are getting out in front of the industry's change to more sustainable models by fully converting their shares of the cement market to portland limestone cement. 

The latest company to make such a change is GCC Dacotah, Inc., a leading supplier and producer of cement, concrete, aggregates and construction-related services in North America. GCC (Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua) plans to finish the conversion to portland limestone cement by July for the Minnesota market. Officials from the company explained their rationale.

"We believe that our industry must continue to provide the homes, roads and infrastructure that shape our world while, simultaneously, addressing the challenge of climate change and sustainability," said Ron Henley, the president of GCC's U.S. division. 

Portland limestone cement offers same benefits

Portland limestone cement offers different advantages by increasing the limestone in the formula, the company stated, adding that portland limestone cement has almost identical strength, workability and durability as regular portland cement.

The company said the transition will represent about 300,000 tons of cement per year and will reduce emissions of CO2 by about 20,000 tons annually, which is the equivalent of removing approximately 4,000 cars from the road each year.

"GCC modeled the impact of converting the Minnesota market to ensure our portland limestone cement product fulfilled the needs of our customers," Henley said. "This gave our customers additional time to fully test and incorporate portland limestone cement into their operations."

Focused on achieving carbon-neutral designs

At this year's World of Concrete show, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Komponent Sales Susan Foster-Goodman explained why the change to portland limestone cement is so important for leading companies. Foster-Goodman works for CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp. and is working to stay on the cutting edge of the trends toward reducing carbon footprints.

She said most industry initiatives are focused on achieving net-zero, carbon-neutral designs by 2050. “At the end of the day, it requires change, and change doesn’t come quickly in the construction industry,” she said.

When it comes to minimizing CO2 emissions, Foster-Goodman said every aspect of the industry is being evaluated, like the possibility of using alternative fuels for the manufacture of cement. She said these goals should be achieved without sacrificing the durability of the finished product.

“If we’re going to extend design life and asset life, we’ve got to improve the quality along the way, not reduce it,” she said.

According to Foster-Goodman, a trend that’s coming “hard and fast” has been the widescale transition to the use of cleaner Portland limestone cement and using more fly ash, slag cement, and other supplementary cementitious materials.

There are “a lot of moving parts” as the industry tries to emphasize durable designs while taking sustainability into account, she noted.


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