NEUMANN MONSON ARCHITECTS

Technology: CarbonCure

New Sustainable Concrete Technology Will Revolutionize the Construction Industry in Iowa
By Nathan Griffith

As global pollution continues to rise, reducing the amount emissions through innovations in building materials has been receiving increased attention from the media in the last few years. Earlier this year at one of our monthly staff meetings, one of my colleagues introduced CarbonCure, a new technology that greatly reduces carbon emissions from the production of concrete. We recently learned that a local business, Metro Pavers of Iowa City, will be the first in Iowa to begin offering CarbonCure in August.

According to an article in The Guardian, traditional concrete is one of the most environmentally unfriendly materials used in construction today, accounting for around 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. This is due to a highly intensive chemical process that is used to produce its main ingredient, portland cement. The CarbonCure technology takes captured CO2, injects it into concrete as it’s being mixed, converting the carbon dioxide into calcium carbonate. This process reduces the quantity of portland cement needed, results in stronger concrete, and sequesters carbon forever.

Recently, I was asked by a client to run some numbers on the potential impact CarbonCure could deliver if it was utilized on a large project here in Iowa. Since every cubic yard of concrete produced with CarbonCure saves an average of 25 pounds of CO2 emissions, I was able to estimate a reduction of 625 tons of emissions. While that’s a huge number, consider that in 2018 about 45 million tons of C02 emissions were produced in the United States alone.

As we seek to make each of our designs more sustainable, all of us here at NM will be seeking out and utilizing these types of groundbreaking technologies. CarbonCure certainly shows great promise in helping us take a step towards a more sustainable future.  

To learn more about CarbonCure, check out the links below:

CarbonCure

CNN – “This concrete (yes, concrete) is going high-tech”

The Guardian – “Making concrete green: reinventing the world’s most used synthetic material”