Associations developing precast concrete life-cycle assessment
The Chicago-based Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) is partnering with the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (CPCI) and the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) to perform a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of precast concrete components.
“With the growing requirements for sustainable design and construction, it is important that the precast, prestressed concrete industry work cooperatively to better understand the environmental impact of precast concrete,” noted Emily Lorenz. P.E., LEED AP, PCI’s director of sustainability. “Overall, the objective of this research is to foster a better understanding of the use of precast/prestressed concrete components and, if needed, make modifications to our processes to reduce our environmental impact.”
The review group for the LCA initiative includes: Jim Lewis, chair of the PCI Sustainability Committee; Tess Ahlborn, PCI R&D Committee representative; Frank Nadeau, PCI R&D Committee representative; John Fowler, president of CPCI; Brian Hall, national marketing director for CPCI; Caroline Alain, chair of the CPCI Sustainability Committee; Eric Wheeler, NPCA Sustainability Committee; and Nick Lewis, director of sustainability for NPCA.
The actual LCA research will be conducted by a joint venture of Morrison Hershfield, The Athena Institute, and George Venta.
Phase one of the research, scheduled to be completed by September 2009, is a life-cycle assessment of the precast concrete from cradle to completion and occupancy of the structure—including the impacts of raw material extraction and precast concrete product manufacturing to product transportation and building construction. Phase two, scheduled to start immediately following phase one, will model the actual use of the building.
PCI is also seeking manufacturing sponsors for the research. Thus far, BASF Construction Chemicals has pledged support of this important sustainability initiative.
The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), founded in 1954, is the foremost developer of standards and methods for designing, fabricating, and constructing precast concrete structures. PCI also operates the world’s leading certification program for firms and individuals in the precast concrete structures industry.
PCI publishes a broad array of periodicals, technical manuals, reports, and other informational documents, including an award-winning technical journal. It also conducts educational seminars, technical conferences, conventions, exhibitions, and awards programs.
Institute members include firms comprising the precast concrete structures industry as well as architects, consultants, contractors, developers, educators, engineers, materials suppliers, service providers, and students.
PCI has 11 regional affiliates across the United States, and maintains relationships with other organizations, both national and worldwide, having interest in precast concrete.