Conewago’s Path to Low-Carbon Concrete

During a recent webinar, the Conewago team shared what motivated them to adopt CarbonCure and their experience evaluating, installing and delivering the CarbonCure-based mixes to achieve low-carbon concrete.

Conewago exemplifies the best in a regional-based ready mix company: a family-run company committed to its community by delivering the highest quality, sustainable product.

Founded in Hanover, Pennsylvania in 1956 under the name Conewago Contractors, Conewago has grown and diversified over time. Over the past few decades, the company has grown its  offerings to include a ready mix operation, mobile concrete ready mix, precast, steel fabrication, and steel and precast erection services. The growth of these services led to the establishment of the manufacturing division as a standalone company, Conewago Manufacturing, that has served the local community ever since.

Watch the On-Demand Webinar
with Conewago

Motivations for Evaluating CarbonCure

The team began evaluating CarbonCure in early 2020. While costs are always a consideration in any decision, the decision to implement the low-carbon concrete technology wasn’t initiated based on increasing profits through more efficient cement usage. For Conewago, it was all about doing the right thing.

“When it comes to sustainability, we all have to think about what we’re doing and the impact that it has on the environment. It’s not about the dollars and cents, it’s about doing the right thing. With every load of concrete that leaves our plant, we’re essentially giving back to the community from a sustainability perspective,” said Collin Bender, Quality Control Manager at Conewago Manufacturing.

Conewago low-carbon concrete mixer

Ease of Adoption 

Always committed to quality, the Conewago team began the evaluation process by conducting CarbonCure trials to ensure there was no impact on strength. Once they confirmed there was no impact, the team was confident shipping the product from day one, albeit with no cement reduction initially. 

“We wanted to make sure that 7-day and 28-day strengths were good, and that the dosage was correct for the cement and aggregates in our local area,” said Collin.

After that, the installation process went really smoothly with no disruption to operations. “We held pre-install meetings to get all the information we needed upfront. This meant we were able to complete the install within a two-day window with no interruption to our production processes. That was a really big deal,” said Collin. 

Around the same time, Conewago was in the process of expanding its steel shop. The team decided that this presented an opportunity to try CarbonCure concrete in their own slab to see how it performed. 

“One of our local finishers worked the concrete and noticed no difference in the finishing. Overall, he was really positive about it all. This gave us the confidence to roll it out to more mixes,” recalled Jason Blase, President of Conewago Manufacturing.

After using CarbonCure on concrete mixes during all four seasons of Pennsylvania weather, today CarbonCure is in 98.8% of Conewago’s mixes. The only exceptions are Department of Transportation projects.

CarbonCure low-carbon concrete technology
CarbonCure Valve Box connected to the CO2 tank at Conewago's plant in Conewago, PA.

Return on Investment 

Conewago is fortunate to be geographically located close to excellent aggregate sources, so their concrete mixes don’t require as much cement content as in other regions. With CarbonCure, Conewago reduced cement by a further 5% — and this has delivered a very favorable return on investment.

“We didn’t embark on our CarbonCure journey for profitability reasons,” said Jason. “However, we noted a 7.5% return on investment on our original target of just 1%.”

To help market and sell their CarbonCure mix designs, the team draws on the CarbonCure resources on myCarbonCure, CarbonCure’s customer portal. The quality control team has also leveraged these resources to help with bid submittals.

“The datasheets [on myCarbonCure] are excellent. We’ve had no rejections or questions from the mix submittals we’ve provided on our residential and commercial projects,” said Collin. “I also talk to the technical team several times a month — they’re always there to help when I need them.”

CarbonCure low-carbon concrete technology
Conewago's CarbonCure Control Box synced with their batching system in their control room.

What’s Next for Conewago?

Conewago prides itself on helping its customers turn their visions into reality. Last year the company embarked on a mission to turn a wider community vision into a reality: sustainable concrete.

The team expects that the use of CarbonCure, along with the support of CarbonCure’s market development team, will create greater market differentiation and help them win more projects. 

For now, the company is proud of its achievements — in just 9 months, it has saved 343 tonnes of CO2 — that’s the equivalent of 448 acres (181 hectares) of U.S. forest absorbing CO2 for one year.

To learn more, watch the full webinar discussion with Conewago and their path to low-carbon concrete.

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