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Title: Readily Implementable Sustainable Solutions for Pavement Concretes: Agency and Industry Perspective

Author(s): Michelle A. Helsel, Milena Rangelov, Robert Spragg, Michael Praul

Publication: Symposium Paper

Volume: 361


Appears on pages(s): 16-30

Keywords: sustainability, embodied carbon, LCA, concrete pavements, environmental impacts, greenhouse gases, climate change

DOI: 10.14359/51740604

Date: 3/1/2024

To support a rapid integration of sustainability principles into paving concrete practice, this study provides a closer look into readily implementable cement and concrete decarbonization strategies. To do so, this study relies on combined stakeholder involvement, quantitative analysis using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and the state-of-the-practice in the US paving concrete industry to understand merits of each solution. The results indicate that concrete mix design optimization is a promising, yet not widely applied solution that can reduce costs, enhance durability, and provide average carbon emissions savings of 14 percent. Use of supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) is another solution with multiple benefits, however, the use of SCM is already widely implemented across the USA. Industry-wide improvement in cement carbon footprint due to energy efficiency can provide additional savings of up to 10 percent. Quantifying the environmental footprint of concrete is critical to inform decision-making and enable more sustainable outcomes.