The City of Houston’s Green Action Plan is a comprehensive sustainability plan that outlines the city's goals and strategies for reducing its carbon footprint, improving energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable practices. The plan was first introduced in 2013, updated in 2019 to reflect new initiatives, and officially launched on April 22, 2020 — the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
One of the key goals of the Green Action Plan is to reduce Houston's greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. To achieve this goal, the city has implemented a range of initiatives, including energy efficiency upgrades to public buildings, the promotion of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, and the adoption of electric vehicles in the city's fleet.
Another important aspect of the Green Action Plan is its focus on promoting sustainable building practices. The plan encourages the adoption of green building standards, such as LEED certification, for both public and private buildings. The city also provides incentives for developers to incorporate energy-efficient and sustainable features into their projects.
What Houston’s Green Action Plan Means for Concrete Producers
As one of the pillars of the Green Action Plan is green buildings, the city encourages the use of sustainable building materials in construction projects. The plan promotes the use of low-carbon building materials, which includes concrete with lower embodied carbon. This presents an opportunity for concrete producers who adopt sustainable practices — like concrete made with CarbonCure — and who may have a competitive advantage in bidding for projects that receive funding from the city or its partners.
Proving the Carbon Footprint of Concrete
To demonstrate an accurate carbon footprint of concrete and gain a competitive advantage in Houston, producers can proactively create Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for their products. By partnering with an EPD service provider, they can conduct life cycle assessments of their concrete plant and materials, and produce reports to prove the carbon footprint of concrete mixes and products.
Further, since January 2023, Buy Clean Requirements stipulate that any concrete producers bidding on a project that receives any federal funding (i.e., Department of Transport and Department of Defense projects) must report on the carbon emissions associated with the production, manufacturing, and use of the concrete.
With the Green Action Plan and Buy Clean requirements, Type III EPDs are a must-have for any producer in the City of Houston.
Gaining a Competitive Advantage in Houston with Low Carbon Content
Once producers know their baseline emissions data from the creation of EPDs, they can begin to explore possible options for reducing emissions including using alternative raw materials, such as fly ash and slag, in place of cement, or using carbon removal technologies like CarbonCure’s solutions to optimize their mix designs.
CarbonCure Ready Mix, for example, injects CO₂ into the ready mix where it converts to a mineral, reducing the carbon-intensive cement content of the concrete. This allows producers to optimize mix designs, safely reducing cement content and lowering the carbon footprint of concrete—with no impact on quality or performance.
Overall, the City of Houston’s Green Action Plan — along with Buy Clean requirements for federally-funded projects — presents an opportunity for concrete producers to align their practices with the city's sustainability goals and differentiate themselves in a competitive market. By adopting sustainable practices and offering low-carbon concrete products, producers can position themselves as leaders in the green building industry and contribute to Houston's efforts to become a more sustainable and resilient city.
Contact our team to learn how CarbonCure can set you up for success in Houston.