The question of “greener” cement is before an Illinois House committee

A bill sponsored by State Rep. Dan Didech (D-Buffalo Grove) would encourage environmentally friendly construction practices. (Photo courtesy: WJBC/File)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – The carbon footprint of concrete was a subject of an Illinois House hearing. 

OpenAir Collective founder Chris Neidl (NYE-dul) says concrete covers most of the world, surpassed only by water.

“The production of concrete is a major driver of industrial carbon emissions, and this owes mostly to one critical component: Portland cement, the binding ingredient of which gives concrete many of its unique structural properties,” said Neidl. “While typically it makes up no more than fifteen percent of concrete by mass, Portland cement accounts for about 80-90 percent of concrete’s carbon emissions, and globally, the production of this material is responsible for about seven or eight percent of anthropogenic CO2.”

A bill sponsored by State Rep. Dan Didech (D-Buffalo Grove) would encourage environmentally friendly construction practices.

“This bill establishes a performance-based tax credit for concrete producers to incentivize the use of materials and methods for state-funded projects that reduce the embodied carbon generated in the production of concretes and support the removal of carbon in the atmosphere and its permanent storage in concrete,” said Didech at the same hearing. 

Neidl says it’s complicated, though, when you try to compare concrete to other commodities: The relevance of concrete to climate is complex. A yard of concrete is very diff from a barrel of petroleum or a kilowatt of electricity when it comes to realizing emissions reductions.”

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected].


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