Report from NPCA’s Sustainability Committee
By Kyle Kerstiens
The NPCA Sustainability Committee and NPCA staff are committed to helping members navigate the sea of “green” terminology that has kept some from embracing these new practices. As such, we will be including a sustainability page in each issue of Precast Inc. Here you will find information regarding this hot-button topic that will help you make informed decisions for your business and the environment.
The Sustainability Committee started as a task force in May 2008. NPCA and its Board of Directors soon realized the value of the task force and voted in October 2009 to form the Sustainability Committee. Since its inception, the Sustainability Committee has been working feverishly on a wide variety of components to better educate and help NPCA members in several ways. Committee members created the LEED calculator, LEED Reference Guides, website content, and even a Sustainability Forum to help educate members on the many aspects of sustainability.
After finalizing startup tasks such as a mission statement, goals and objectives, the committee has produced a wealth of information to help NPCA members with sustainability issues and the LEED rating systems. Some of the work includes:
- LEED Calculator (http://leed.precast.org). The LEED Calculator was developed by NPCA to simplify the paperwork requested for the completion of LEED Credits MR 4 – Recycled Content and MR5 – Regional Materials. After registering, members must enter product weights for each component from rebar to aggregate. After the information has been entered, it checks for errors and provides a final PDF file of your products’ recycled content to deliver to the LEED AP (Accredited Professional). NPCA recently modified the calculator to work with Canadian postal codes allowing use for LEED Canada as well.
- Sustainability Website Update (www.precast.org/sustainability). NPCA is in the process of adding information to the sustainability webpage. Check the site often for new case studies and revisions to related documents.
- Sustainability Forum (http://forums.precast.org). The newly formed Sustainability Forum is up and running. The forum allows members to post questions or comments about a particular LEED credit and review other members’ questions and comments. The forum contains information on developing a more sustainable manufacturing plant. Members can post success stories and ask questions such as the cost to payoff returns or the profit in making a sustainable choice.
- LEED Reference Guides. This series of documents contains the points precast products can potentially contribute to in the LEED rating system. The collection of PDF files, based upon product type, will be available soon for download. Each PDF file consists of a product – a box culvert, for example – and each credit it can contribute to in the LEED rating system. It features the credit requirement language and the credit contribution for the specified product. This information will educate members on not only what credits their products contribute to, but more importantly why. These downloadable files will be updated occasionally, so check the website often. These documents will be available after Jan. 1, 2011, on both the Sustainability website and the Sustainability forum.
The Sustainability Committee is a highly dedicated group with some ambitious projects in mind to tackle the Board of Director’s Preferred Futures. It will help keep NPCA members at the forefront of the complex issues relating to sustainability. The committee will concentrate on some of the following projects in the near future:
- Create a sustainable Plant Certification program.
- Develop an NPCA sustainable awards program for products and plants that will reward those who excel in contributing to a more sustainable environment.
- Compile a list of case studies to illustrate how sustainable practices not only demonstrate environmental stewardship but also increase efficiency and financial returns.
- Survey the membership to establish a baseline of where we are as an industry as it relates to sustainability.
- With this information, not only can NPCA track industry progress, but your company can see areas in which it may excel or be lacking.
- Articles in each issue of Precast Inc. magazine
The Sustainability Committee is currently forming task forces to complete a wide variety of projects. If you would like to volunteer, contact Kyle Kerstiens at [email protected]. Help yourself and our industry in the face ofcompeting materials and join now!
Kyle Kerstiens is NPCA’s director of Sustainability.