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EPA RainWorks Challenge

Environmental Protection Agency ’s fourth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge compels undergraduate and graduate student participants to design green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution. Such systems include permeable pavement materials, rain-harvesting vessels and vegetated green roofs. Along with companion practices, EPA notes, they decrease pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems; increase economic activity, neighborhood revitalization, job creation and open space; and, reduce local water infrastructure burden, urban heat island effect and energy consumption.

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Hardscape unit demand outpaces overall landscape product business

14 Hardscape 150Landscaping product demand is forecast to grow 5.3 percent per year, from $5.3 billion in 2014 to $8.2 billion in 2019, as the market continues to recover from the effects of the 2007–2009 recession. Of four major categories profiled in Landscaping Products, a new five-year outlook from Cleveland market researcher Freedonia Group, hardscape units—concrete or clay pavers, segmental retaining wall units—lead the pack with projected annual growth at 7.3 percent, from just over $2 billion in 2014 sales toward $2.9 billion in 2019.

 

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Construction life cycle assessment pioneer retools Buildings, Pavement programs

The developer of a life cycle assessment (LCA) tool informing ready mixed and manufactured-concrete interests’ product category rules (PCR) and environmental product declarations (EPD) has released Impact Estimator for Buildings Version 5.1 and Pavement LCA Version 2.1, both programs available as free downloads. Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, Ottawa, revised the software with support of Cement Association of Canada, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Portland Cement Association and Slag Cement Association (SCA), plus input from the NRMCA- and PCA-chartered Concrete Sustainability Hub at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CSHub).

 

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Concrete trades near top in AGC survey tracking widespread labor shortages

Nearly 90 percent of 1,350-plus respondents to an industry-wide Associated General Contractors of America survey, conducted at peak season, report trouble finding qualified craft workers to fill key spots as construction demand continues to rebound in many markets. Seventy-nine percent of responding firms nationwide cite difficulty filling one or more of 21 hourly craft professional positions, particularly carpenters (73 percent of firms that employ carpenters report difficulty), followed by sheet metal installers (65 percent) and concrete workers (63 percent).

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‘Spent’ prestressed poles live on to anglers and marine species’ delight

16 FPLii 150An artificial reef program utilizing discarded concrete transmission poles to enhance south Florida’s marine environment garnered Florida Power & Light Co. the Industry Excellence Award, Environmental category, in an annual Southeastern Electric Exchange program. Over a three-year period, FPL initiated a recycling program repurposing 183 prestressed poles—approximately 3,000 tons of concrete—for projects off the coast of St. Lucie County. The reefs provide habitat to 110-plus marine life species, whose abundance and variety attract divers and anglers.

 

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