Sessions & Events


All sessions and events take place in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).
W = Westin Boston Seaport District; C = Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

On-demand sessions will be available for viewing in the convention platform under "On-Demand Content" within 24-48 hours of the session premiere. Please note, on-demand sessions are not available for CEU credit. *Denotes on-demand content.

Role of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in Concrete Sustainability Evaluation, Part 1 of 2

Sunday, October 29, 2023  1:00 PM - 3:00 PM, W-Marina Ballroom I

During these two sessions, concrete stakeholders (including but not limited to materials producers, concrete manufacturers, structural engineers, governments, and contractors) will be educated and informed about the EPDs and LCA methods for performing environmental impact assessments and disclosing their potential environmental impacts. Basic content and progress toward developing assessment tools and guidelines will be demonstrated. Speakers will provide their insight and experience about the challenges and opportunities for using available sustainability tools concerning the performance and design criteria. Participants will also be informed about the role played by different concrete stakeholders in the evaluation and implementation of environmental impact metrics.

Learning Objectives:
(1) Interpret the development of cement environmental product declarations (EPDs) for US manufacturers;
(2) Discuss when concrete EPDs should not be compared and strategies for creating meaningful benchmarks;
(3) Evaluate the importance of considering resilience in the life cycle assessment (LCA) of buildings;
(4) Identify different LCA tools that can be used to assess the environmental impacts of concrete paving projects.

This session has been approved by AIA and ICC for 2 PDHs (0.2 CEUs). Please note: You must attend the live session for the entire duration to receive credit. On-demand sessions do not qualify for PDH/CEU credit.

Life Cycle Assessment Methods and Criteria in Sustainable Concrete Design

Presented By: Sabbie Miller
Affiliation: University of California, Davis
Description: Global cement and concrete production are resulting high environmental impacts, ~8% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, ~7% of NOX emissions, and ~5% of PM10 emissions. With these notable impacts, there have been significant movements to quantify and mitigate environmental burdens from this critical infrastructure material. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the most common method to systematically quantify these impacts; however, the flexibility of this method still leaves many results difficult to interpret and/or compare. Here we will present mechanisms for quantifying: (1) the environmental impacts of concrete; (2) efficacy of decarbonization methods; and (3) key co-benefits or unintended consequences of methods to reduce GHG emissions on other environmental impact categories.

Incorporating Climate Vulnerability into the Study of the Embodied Carbon of Buildings

Presented By: Randolph Kirchain
Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Description: Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been considered the most comprehensive tool for evaluating the potential environmental impacts of buildings. While different life cycle stages, from materials extraction up to the end-of-life activities, are included in the scope of studies, the analysis has been typically conducted under the steady-state condition. Under this condition, the impacts of extreme events, like natural hazards, are not captured within the life cycle environmental impacts of buildings. In this study, we show that embodied carbon associated with hazard repairs can be significant. The case study of hurricane damage in Miami-Dade, Florida demonstrates that hazard-induced impacts can be on a similar magnitude to that of initial construction. With the increasing frequency of extreme events, it is becoming more critical for sustainability assessment to account for potential damages on buildings in hazard-prone areas.

Beware of Comparing: Common Mistakes When Evaluating Concrete EPDs

Presented By: Emily Lorenz
Description: Environmental product declarations (EPDs) are increasingly being used to inform decisions related to reducing the environmental impact of concrete. However, stakeholders that are unaware of how EPDs are developed may unwittingly make incorrect choices. In worse-case scenarios, this misinformation has contributed to the misuse of EPDs in the marketplace to make comparisons among concrete products that should never be compared. This presentation will give background on how EPDs are developed, including examples of when concrete EPDs can or cannot be compared using ISO requirements for EPD comparisons. Finally, strategies to set benchmark values (or maximum limits on environmental impacts) using EPDs will be discussed.

More Sustainable Concrete Requires More Sustainable Cement

Presented By: James Farny
Description: As U.S. Government agencies like GSA, FHWA, and the EPA increase their efforts to drive procurement of lower carbon building materials, decision makers need data to make informed choices. Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) provide such data and allow producers to communicate the environmental impact of their products, including GHG footprint and other key categories. This session describes development of cement EPDs for US manufacturers via the GCCA EPD Tool - North American module and how those documents can inform a life cycle assessment (LCA) and help establish realistic and achievable targets for lower carbon building materials.

Using EPDs and LCA Methods for Reducing the Embodied Carbon of Paving Concrete

Presented By: Thomas Van Dam
Affiliation: Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Description: The highway industry is moving quickly to use EPDs to benchmark the carbon footprint of their concrete pavement projects with the goal of reducing the carbon footprint in future projects. Although this benchmarking is a first and necessary step, more detailed LCA methods, including the FHWA’s LCAPave tool have been used to demonstrate broader environmental impacts over the life cycle. This talk will present the state of the practice in applying EPDs and LCA methods to assess the carbon footprint and broader environmental impacts of concrete pavement projects. Past applications will be discussed and future directions described to achieve improved environmental performance.

Upper Level Sponsors

ACI Northern California and Western Nevada Chapter
Euclid Chemical
JSW Stud Rails
Master Builders