SILVER SPRING, MD - The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association has launched a new certification program designed to help concrete producers demonstrate excellence in sustainable development. The NRMCA Sustainable Concrete Plant Certification program includes quantitative, performance-based metrics to provide ready mixed concrete producers with specific guidance to assess their production practices and implement sustainability strategies that will ultimately lower their overall footprint.
To certify, plant personnel will use a document titled Sustainable Concrete Plant Guidelines that rates a plant's level of sustainability within different credit categories, with the objective of reducing carbon footprint, energy consumption, water use and waste; increasing recycled content; and improving human health and social concerns. Plants can achieve between 0 and 100 points depending on how many sustainability credits are achieved and their level of performance within each credit.
Plant personnel will use the Guidelines to assess their plant and collect documentation for those credits for which they are claiming points and submit the documentation to NRMCA along with appropriate application forms and fees. NRMCA then sends the application and documentation to a third-party auditor who reviews the application and documentation to determine if the plant meets the criteria described in the Guidelines for all the points being claimed by the plant. If the plant meets the certification criteria NRMCA awards the plant with the appropriate NRMCA Sustainable Concrete Plant Certification level:
- Bronze: 30-49 points
- Silver: 50-69 points
- Gold: 70-89 points
- Platinum: 90-100 points
The Certification is valid for two years, after which a plant must recertify. Plant personnel can use the Guidelines to implement new sustainable practices or improve on existing practices with the objective of recertifying at a higher level to demonstrate continuous improvement in the manufacturing process. The certification builds on existing NRMCA programs, systems and publications. NRMCA currently has a quality-oriented Plant and Truck Certification, as well as an environmental management-oriented Green-Star Certification Program.
"The green building movement continues to grow at a rapid pace despite the recent economic downturn," says Lionel Lemay, senior vice president of sustainability for NRMCA. "Not only is it important for the concrete industry to develop and promote green building products and solutions, but it is critical that the industry continues to improve its production model to demonstrate leadership in sustainable manufacturing. This certification program provides a pathway to achieve a balance among environmental responsibility, social equity and economic prosperity," adds Lemay.
The Guidelines were developed over a three-year process through generous funding from the RMC Research & Education Foundation. The development process was managed by NRMCA by engaging concrete producers and industry consultants from all over the world with expertise in sustainability and environmental management. Although specifically developed for the U.S. market, the Certification and Guidelines are applicable in any other country. Several concrete producers from outside the U.S. participated in the pilot program and intend on certifying their plants in the new program. For more details on the NRMCA Sustainable Concrete Plant Certification program, please visit www.nrmca.org/sustainability/certification.