Central Concrete Meets Bay Area Demand for Low-Carbon Concrete

Central Concrete—a business unit of U.S. Concrete—has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 70 years. 

The company has long been recognized for its innovation in high-performance, low-carbon concrete designs. In fact, Central Concrete was the first company in the U.S. to offer Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), and the first ready mix concrete supplier to produce an online EPD for every product using Climate Earth’s EPD Generator.

To address the growing demand for low-carbon concrete in the Bay Area, Central Concrete implemented CarbonCure’s technology in 2017, recognizing it as the first ready mix solution to sequester recycled CO2, reducing the carbon footprint of mix designs while maintaining performance requirements.

CarbonCure Control Box for Low-Carbon Concrete
The CarbonCure Control Box in the San Jose Central Concrete plant. (Jason Henry for the New York Times)

Technical Services and Support Made Roll-Out Easy

As an early adopter of the CarbonCure technology, Central Concrete’s testing process was more extensive than it is today. Alana Guzzetta, Manager of U.S. Concrete’s National Research Laboratory, and her San Jose team conducted comprehensive tests before moving to a full installation at three of its Central Concrete plant locations in 2018. 

In 2019, Central Concrete expanded the adoption of CarbonCure across all of its West Bay plants. 

CarbonCure’s Technical Services and Support (TSS) team was on hand throughout the implementation process. Juan (Johnny) Gonzalez, Manager of Strategic Development & Sustainability at Central Concrete, noted that it was reassuring to have such an engaged CarbonCure team to offer constant support both in person and remotely. 

The team worked hands-on with Central Concrete, watching injections, offering optimization advice, and even notifying the team if the CO2 was running low and needed to be restocked.

Low-Carbon Concrete Adopter Central Concrete

Meeting Bay Area Demand for Low-Carbon Concrete

In 2019, the first commercial application of CarbonCure on the West Coast was placed by Central Concrete at the New Academic Building at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law. The structural engineer, Skidmore Owings Merrill (SOM), and its clients,Conco and Clark Construction, were convinced by the testing data proving CarbonCure’s strength performance.

Shortly after, Central Concrete supplied concrete for the new LinkedIn Middlefield Campus in Mountain View—the result of a conversation facilitated by CarbonCure’s executive team. In partnership with the general contractor, Devcon, and subcontractor, Joseph J. Albanese, the placement went very smoothly and the inclusion of CarbonCure provided an additional 5% carbon footprint reduction—240,000 pounds or 108,862 kilograms—to the green building project, creating a total carbon saving of 4.8 million pounds or 2,177 kilograms. 

Today, Central Concrete is the largest CarbonCure producer on the U.S. West Coast—with more than 470 projects and 290,900 cubic yards (222,409 cubic metres) completed as of January 2021. It also supplied the largest continuous placement of CarbonCure concrete in a single day—195 trucks delivering 7,665 cubic yards (5,860 cubic metres) in just under 11 hours—on a large commercial project with Joseph J. Albanese and Devcon Construction. 

Low-Carbon Concrete Adopter Central Concrete

Market Development Support

Big Tech’s focus on climate change and commitment to low-carbon supply chains have accelerated the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies in Bay Area construction. However, legacy prescriptive specifications are often a barrier to implementation.

To help Central Concrete respond to projects with prescriptive specifications, CarbonCure’s Market Development team delivered a training program about the advantages of performance specifications. This robust training program helped Central Concrete raise awareness and achieve success within the design community. 

An advocate for reducing embodied carbon, David Shook, Principal at SOM, was excited to work with Central Concrete to introduce CarbonCure to the San Francisco market, saying “SOM is committed to sustainable design. CarbonCure’s technology is an important step in mitigating harmful carbon emissions and we look forward to its use in The Bay.”

Looking to the future, the teams are now collaborating on how best to work with local governments and municipalities to encourage broader adoption of performance-based specifications that allow for low-carbon innovations like CarbonCure.
For more information, download Central Concrete & CarbonCure: A Success Story.

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