How resilience and sustainability are shaping concrete solutions for stronger communities

 by Kevin P. Mlutkowski-

Globally, so many communities face multidimensional threats, hazards, and disasters. And, as social and economic loss from these impacts continues to increase, development with a renewed focus on sustainability and resilience can offer opportunities for mitigating the financial, environmental, and community impacts from these events. Communities continue to advocate for increased sustainability and resilience, and the American Concrete Institute (ACI)—working with nearly 20,000 members, chapters, and partners around the world—is developing and disseminating the resources needed to improve the sustainable and resilient properties of our communities.

Responding to seismic activity, climate change, and other extreme events, encourages reflection alongside the expansion of state-of-the-art knowledge. The ACI membership is leading the concrete industry with development of this knowledge through a robust concrete sustainability technical committee focused on developing and reporting on concrete materials, construction, design, social issues, and certification. ACI has another technical committee focused on the structural integrity and resilience of concrete structures—working to identify collapse-resisting mechanisms, including proposed methods to increase functional and disaster-resilient design of structural components and systems. Members of one of the Institute’s newest technical committees are researching the impacts that major global disasters are having on the design, construction, durability, and resilience of concrete structures, with the goals of increasing individual, institutional, and community capacity to reduce negative impact from future disasters.

During ACI’s seventh annual Concrete Sustainability Forum, held just weeks ago in Washington, D.C., the Institute provided an update on the evolving landscape of concrete sustainability and structural resilience. Examples of new sustainable and innovative concrete technologies from around the globe were highlighted, including CarbonCure’s efforts to sequester carbon dioxide, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s Sustainable Pavements program, and more. These technologies preceded the Portland Cement Association and National Institute of Building Sciences calls for inclusion of building materials and systems that will protect buildings and communities when faced with extreme events. Additionally, leaders from the American Concrete Institute, Fédération Internationale du Béton, Japan Concrete Institute, and other international concrete organizations presented updates on efforts to codify and institutionalize sustainability and resilient design across the globe. Thanks to through collaboration, communities around the world are becoming more sustainable and resilient.

Speaking of collaboration, ACI is pleased to partner with others who share our commitment to sustainable and resilient communities. That’s why ACI helped form the Concrete Joint Sustainability Initiative in 2009, and that’s why ACI works with organizations like the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, who is leading the industry on materials transparency; the Portland Cement Association, a leading advocate for protection against natural disasters; and so many other industry leaders. Partnerships with groups that share our commitment to understanding sustainability and resilience, like USGBC, allow us to build greener, stronger, and more resilient communities.

Want to get involved or learn more? Visit concrete.org to learn more about ACI’s efforts.

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