Concrete industry leader Thomas Concrete recently hit an exciting milestone with CarbonCure. Almost a year after Lauren Concrete delivered the one-millionth truckload of concrete made with CarbonCure, Thomas Concrete delivered the two-millionth truckload from its Myrtle Beach plant in South Carolina. This particular truck supplied concrete for the slab foundation of a house.
Like Lauren Concrete, Thomas Concrete was an early adopter of CarbonCure. Since its initial trials in 2016, Thomas has implemented the technology for ready mix concrete across 50 plants in the southeastern United States.
Thomas CEO and President Alan Wessel said recently, “We are tremendously proud to have produced CarbonCure’s two-millionth truckload of sustainable concrete. At Thomas, we believe in doing the right thing—for our communities and for our environment—and in our strong partnership with CarbonCure, we look forward to many more milestones to come.”
Thomas Concrete and CarbonCure’s Long History
In 2015, CarbonCure’s research and development team reached out to Thomas Concrete to conduct trials of its pre-market technology for ready mix.
CarbonCure Ready Mix was intriguing to the sustainability-minded Thomas team. The technology injects carbon dioxide (CO2) into concrete during the mixing process, where the CO2 converts into a mineral. This chemical reaction increases the strength of the concrete, thereby reducing the amount of cement required. This enables both production efficiencies as well as environmental benefits as, once mineralized, the CO2 is permanently stored within the concrete and removed from the atmosphere.
John Cook, Director of Technical Services, and Justin Lazenby, Georgia Manager of Technical Services, at Thomas Concrete decided to move forward with CarbonCure’s first industrial trials. Initial results demonstrated an average 28-day strength increase of 10 percent. This was the data the team needed to move forward with a rollout to all of Thomas Concrete’s plants over the next five years.
Immediately, Thomas Concrete began realizing savings from using less cement in its mixes. Lazenby was particularly impressed by CarbonCure’s reliability. He noted, “We continued to test and the results became so repeatable month after month. For a quality guy, that’s huge. It means it’s working.”
Marketing Green Concrete
Thomas Concrete, known as “The Concrete Specialists®,” has always had the reputation of being innovative and focused on sustainability. CarbonCure has further contributed to how Thomas Concrete is perceived positively as a company. Alan noted in a recent case study, “We have become the leader in Atlanta in a lot of aspects. The CarbonCure partnership is part of that, as is our team and our network expansion. It all ties together: thinking long-term, doing the right thing, taking care of your people, taking care of your communities, and being sustainable.”
Thomas built a number of marketing materials to help educate the market about the benefits of clean concrete. Through a blend of marketing efforts, word of mouth and some high-profile media appearances, market awareness increased and today even the most conservative contractors ask Thomas about using CarbonCure in their projects.
Where once there was skepticism, engineers and contractors now see opportunity. Questions have evolved from “does this work?” to “how far can we go?”
As of January 2022, Thomas Concrete has delivered more than 4.5 million cubic yards (3.4 million cubic meters) of concrete made with CarbonCure, reducing nearly 35,000 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to removing 7,505 cars from the road for a year.
“We’ve done work with the majority of large engineering firms in Atlanta and now they’re super ready to keep going because the building owners fall in love with it,” Lazenby said. Some of the biggest projects for which Thomas Concrete has supplied CarbonCure concrete include:
1. 725 Ponce, Atlanta, Georgia
Thomas Concrete delivered 48,000 cubic yards (36,699 cubic meters) of concrete made with CarbonCure to 725 Ponce in Atlanta, Georgia—a USD $190 million mixed-use development clocking in at 360,000 square feet (33,445 square meters). The use of CarbonCure on the project diverted 680 metric tons CO2 from the atmosphere—equivalent to 888 acres of forest absorbing CO2 for a year.
Rob Weilacher, Engineer of Record at Uzun+Case said, “We specified Thomas Concrete with the CarbonCure Technology to reduce the carbon footprint of 725 Ponce. We’re proud to have saved 1.5 million pounds [680 metric tons] of CO2 while maintaining our high-quality standards for concrete.”
2. Fox Hill Business Park, Greenville County, South Carolina
Fox Hill Business Park is a Class A business park covering 2.5 million square feet (232,258 square meters) in Greenville County, South Carolina. Sudler—the family-run commercial real estate company that manages it—recognized the strong long-term growth potential of Greenville County and wanted to find a way to make a splash with the new development. The company connected with Thomas Concrete to supply sustainable concrete to the project.
Thomas Concrete addressed any technical questions about CarbonCure from project stakeholders. Ultimately the project stakeholders, including Buchanan Concrete and Pattillo Construction Corporation, came on board and the use of CarbonCure’s concrete solution saved more than 60 metric tons of CO2 on the project.
3. Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, Atlanta, Georgia
The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech had aspirations to be the most environmentally advanced education and research building on a college campus in the Southeast.
The 42,000 square foot (3,902 square meter) building is Living Building Challenge certified, meaning it was built in accordance with what is often described as the world’s most rigorous green building standard.
By supplying concrete made with CarbonCure, Thomas Concrete saved more than 18 metric tons of carbon dioxide and earned the team a Swarm Changemaker Award for its involvement in the project.
Thomas’ delivery of the two-millionth truckload of concrete made with CarbonCure is the icing on the cake of a successful six-year partnership between Thomas and CarbonCure.
It also came at the end of a momentous year for CarbonCure during which we were named a grand prize winner of the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, launched several new technologies including CarbonCure Precast and CarbonCure Reclaimed Water, and implemented our Carbon Removal Credit Program—in which Thomas Concrete participates.
We look forward to many more success stories with Thomas Concrete and our other valued concrete producer partners in 2022!
To learn more about Thomas Concrete and CarbonCure, read the full case study.