How Ozinga Capitalized on the Sustainable Building Market

Ozinga Ready Mix is a fourth-generation, family-owned company specializing in concrete, building materials, and logistics. 

Ozinga operates almost 70 ready mix concrete plants across Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and South Florida. Throughout its 100-year history, Ozinga has always moved with the times. It persevered through the Great Depression and World War II, and adapted to survive many changes and obstacles in the industry. As such, the organization is resilient, innovative, and always open to trying new things.

In September, Paul Ozinga, Executive Vice President and Ryan Cialdella, VP of Research & Development at Ozinga joined CarbonCure for an informative webinar about their experience capturing the sustainable building market.

Sustainable at its Core

“Being a generational family business, we are always striving to leave things better than we found them.”

-Paul Ozinga, Executive Vice President, Ozinga

Sustainability is central to Ozinga’s business model. “Our purpose is to make a positive impact on individuals, their families, and the community for generations,” said Paul. “That’s why it’s important that we’re cognizant of the resources and raw materials that we consume and that we’re good stewards of the environment.”

Some ways Ozinga demonstrates this commitment to sustainability include:

  • Its iconic red and white trucks run on compressed natural gas;
  • It is currently establishing renewable natural gas stations throughout the country;
  • It uses energy from local wind farms;
  • It leverages waterways as much as possible as it’s the cleanest mode of transport;
  • It has implemented CarbonCure at 31 plants, saving over 25 million pounds of CO2.

Ozinga’s sustainability efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Over the past two years, it has won a host of awards for all the great work it does including the Emerald Award for Green Building Innovation from the USGBC; a Sustainability Award from Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association; the Clean Cities Above and Beyond Award from Chicago Area; the Partner of the Year Award from EnergyStar; and the Better Project Award from the US Department of Energy.

Ozinga: Sustainable building market

Ozinga’s Clean Concrete

Ozinga was one of the early adopters of CarbonCure’s CO₂ mineralization technology

“In the beginning, the technology seemed so new and I was a bit skeptical about it all,” said Ryan, “We started out with some trial batches and making sure the strengths were okay. As we gathered more and more data, we ramped up testing for durability, pumpability, finishability, and so on.”

CarbonCure injects a precise dosage of carbon dioxide (CO₂) into concrete, where the CO₂ becomes chemically converted into a mineral. Once injected into the wet concrete mix, the CO₂ reacts with calcium ions from cement to form a nano-sized mineral, Calcium Carbonate, which becomes embedded in the concrete. This makes the concrete stronger, enabling mix optimization while eliminating the CO₂.

The Ozinga team tested various mixes with different curves of cement reduction and CO2 addition. It found the same or better control of strength performance in some CarbonCure mixes with 5-6% reduction in cement. 

Learn about how concrete producer company Ozinga Ready Mix won new business as a result of its sustainability leadership, including producing concrete with CarbonCure at 31 plants.
Graph taken from the Ozinga Ready Mix Case Study.

The team went on to run pilot projects with some interested clients. Again, it noted no negative effects on the plastic or hardened properties and had the positive impact of a significantly reduced cement content.

“As we sit here today, four years on, CarbonCure has been completely validated across all areas of our business,” said Ryan.

ozinga case study: Sustainable building market

Read About Ozinga’s CarbonCure Journey:
Ozinga Ready Mix Case Study

Contributing to Transparency in Sustainable Design

Ozinga was the first producer in Illinois to publish an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for its concrete mixes. 

In the same way that nutritional labels report the measured nutrition facts for food products, EPDs report the measured lifecycle environmental impact of a product so designers and builders can make more informed decisions using accurate and transparent information. 

On average, Ozinga’s concrete mixes that contain CarbonCure reduce the global warming potential (GWP) by 6.0% compared to the same mix made without CarbonCure.

Sustainable building market and Ozinga
Watch Ozinga's video about using CarbonCure to produce concrete for the construction of the McDonald's Flagship in Chicago, Illinois.

Ozinga’s Sustainability Impact

Tracking sustainability progress is key at Ozinga. As of the date of the live webinar, Ozinga had saved over 25 million pounds of CO2 from 31 plants since 2016. That’s equivalent to 14,900 acres of trees absorbing CO2 for a year. 

However, this progress is exponential — over half of that saving happened in the first 9 months of 2020!

To learn more about Ozinga’s sustainability efforts, watch the full webinar on demand. To learn more about CarbonCure and how it could work in your concrete plants, contact us.

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