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The U.S. Green Building Council points to transparency as a guiding principle of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating program’s latest version. Unveiled at the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo last month in Philadelphia, LEED v4 responds to the increasing recognition of life cycle energy consumption by addressing buildings’ operating phases, but keeps provisions where concrete can contribute to credits on a scorecard for Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum level certification.

This year is winding down with signs of recovery throughout construction. Certain union locals might find 2013 wanting, however, as National Labor Relations Board authorities have determined that their attempts to come between concrete suppliers and contractors violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The fifth North American Conference on the Design and Use of Self-Consolidating Concrete, or SCC 2013, offered strong market and technical perspectives on one of the industry’s best value propositions to the architectural/engineering/construction community of the past two decades. Presenters at the mid-May event in Chicago demonstrated how stakeholders have compelled American Concrete Institute and ASTM International committees to develop guidelines and standards indicating self-consolidating mixes’ quality in plastic and hardened states.

The Big Dig remains a gift that keeps on taking from Bay State taxpayers and Boston area motorists using Massachusetts Turnpike Authority routes. A project whose initial cost was pegged in the early 1980s at $2.5 billion could carry an ultimate price north of $20 billion, by Boston Globe calculations.

New U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures reinforce a well-worn statistic in the climate change discussion: portland cement production accounts for about 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The carbon load reflects high temperature raw feed preheating and kiln phases, plus power-hungry clinker grinding.