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Specifying ‘Greener’ Concrete Infrastructure by Eric Pascal Bescher, PhD, and Nick de Ocampo, LEED AP All photos courtesy CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp. ALTHOUGH ‘SUSTAINABILITY’ IS A POPULAR TERM, IT REMAINS AN ILL-DEFINED AND NEBULOUS CONCEPT IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. THIS IS ESPECIALLY THE CASE WITH CONCRETE, WHERE IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND THE VARIOUS COST AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS. There is no straightforward, simple definition of what sustainability means to the construction industry. Further, there are few tools or even metrics available to help decision-makers specify one construction material over another in relation to sustainability. The sustainability of concrete, the most widely used material in the world, is still a difficult concept to quantify. However, the recently developed Product Category Rules (PCRs) for concrete are a step in the right direction. This article focuses on the sustainability of materials used in civil infrastructure such as highways and bridges, but the concepts explored are also frequently applicable to materials used for building repair. Defining sustainability According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sustainability is based on the simple principle that everything needed for survival and 92 the construction specifier | september 2013 CS_September2013.indd 92 8/14/13 9:01:14 AM