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NEU’s carbon neutral concrete summit: Ideas flow

Federal agencies were front and center as carbon neutrality in concrete was addressed during NEU’s first Summit on Accelerating Carbon Neutral Concrete Materials and Technologies. NEU: An ACI Center of Excellence for Carbon Neutral Concrete has a mission to drive education, awareness, and adoption of carbon neutral concrete materials and technologies.

Representatives from the EPA, Department of Energy (DOE), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were among the attendees at this groundbreaking event. Together, federal agency representatives, NEU members and allied industry association representatives discussed industry needs, current initiatives, and how all parties can work together to reach carbon neutrality throughout the cement-concrete value chain by 2050.

Education is key

Conversation throughout the day led to the discussion of top issues. Education on carbon emissions is considered a leading concern, which prompted the formation of a committee to tackle education goals. The objective of the committee is to work with NEU to determine the best paths to provide education to many different sectors, which includes college students, architects, owners, and contractors. One solution is to produce a college curriculum geared to help those entering the industry understand the issues and emerging materials/technologies, so graduates are prepared and understand the options when entering the workforce.

“We actually identified education early on as a priority of NEU,” NEU executive director Dean Frank said in a statement. “We realize that education and training is essential on many levels, from the finisher up on to the owner, as we are dealing with many new materials/technologies so there are many facets of education needed.

“There’s a confusing array of products on the market now and NEU has a responsibility to provide an educated background on the options.”

Federal initiatives

NEU members also benefitted from learning about the possibility of support from the government through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). With the opportunity to speak to federal agency representatives one-on-one, members were able to understand what the agencies are doing now and how their initiatives can help them.

With a successful first Summit, NEU is geared to work with its members, allied organizations, and federal agency representatives to conquer the goals outlined in the meeting to help the concrete industry understand and reach reduced carbon emission goals.

For more information about how to become a member or participate in the quest to help the industry reach carbon reduction goals, contact NEU at info@neuconcrete.org.

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