2018 Sustainability Awards Winners
1st Place Plant
Columbia Precast Products, Woodland, Wash.
Get SMaRT! – Columbia Precast Takes Sustainability to New Level
Sustainability is embedded in the culture of Columbia Precast Products – from the design of its new plant in Woodland, Wash., to the products that it manufactures, to its pledge to the community to be a good steward of the environment.
The company is committed to using environmentally responsible manufacturing practices while providing a safe workplace for employees. Columbia Precast is also committed to helping its customers accomplish their sustainability-related goals by providing durable products made with responsibly sourced and recycled materials. Products are made from completely natural raw materials and are free from volatile organic compounds.
To back up its sustainable plant credentials, Columbia Precast became the first underground infrastructure concrete plant in North America to earn SMaRT certification, according to Ron Sparks, general manager.
Sustainable Materials Rating Technology (SMaRT) is the world’s standard for sustainable product development and manufacturing. It doesn’t just mean that products aren’t harmful, but that they actually improve the health of the environment.
SMaRT certification codifies a company’s bottom-line commitment to being environmentally friendly. It is a highly differentiated certification that requires extensive documentation, environmental policies and targets, and reclamation and reuse programs.
It took a huge commitment from the company to earn the SMaRT certification. Applicants are thoroughly vetted by a third-party auditor, who examines the entire process – from manufacturing to construction to transportation.
The SMaRT certification means that Columbia Precast Products has achieved the ultimate goal in sustainability – the triple bottom line – which means its products and processes are good for the environment, good for the economy and good for the global community.
1st Place Project
Garden State Precast, Wall Township, New Jersey
From Reject to Reef – Garden State Helps Create a Fisherman’s Paradise
The world is an imperfect place. Mistakes happen in production, last-minute change orders come through and sometimes precast products end up in the boneyard. It’s an inevitable fact of life in the precast concrete business. But Garden State Precast turned some of that imperfection on its head last year, donating 1,500 tons of unusable precast concrete structures to create what the local news called, “a habitat for marine life and a recreational angler’s paradise.”
Garden State provided its precast rejects to the Reicon Group, a marine construction company that barged the structures to the Manasquan River Inlet. As a tugboat steadied the barge, precast pieces originally meant for underground infrastructure were pushed overboard by a front-end loader to create the new habitat.
New Jersey’s Bureau of Marine Fisheries created the reef specifically for recreational anglers, who have limited opportunities in an area dominated by commercial fishing. Additional structures, such as pieces from a bridge demolition, will be dropped into the new habitat to enlarge the reef.
The 1,500 tons of concrete will make the reef especially popular for drift fishing, the primary method of catching summer flounder and black sea bass from boats. State officials expect the new fishing area to become immediately popular, and Kirby O’Malley, Garden State Precast president, couldn’t be happier.
“It was a great project for us,” he said. “The best of both worlds. We were able to free up some space in our yard by donating the damaged precast to a project that helps the environment, and the recreational fishermen love it.”
Honorable Mention Project
Locke Solutions, Houston, Texas
Locke Finds the Solution – No Drips, No Runs, No Hazardous Waste
Locke Solutions, a Houston-based precast concrete company, works predominantly in commercial and industrial projects, from mixed-use developments to mega petrochemical facilities. The company provides solutions to engineers and contractors who are looking for more efficient and safer methods of construction. It designs and manufactures precast concrete structures primarily for underground utilities along with other metal fabrication services. The underground utilities for which Locke manufactures precast structures include power, communication, waterline, stormwater, wastewater, foundations and electrical.
A company that prides itself on finding answers for others, Locke’s production team wanted to fix an issue in its own plant and landed upon a simple, sustainable solution.
Design a way to eliminate fresh concrete from dripping from the mixer chute to the floor – a situation that can introduce hazardous waste to the water drainage system.
Tie in to the air-actuated door system to enable the chute cover to close and open in sequence with the mixer batch door.
How it Works
With the help of owner Asher Kazmann, lead fabricator Jaime Guerrero installed two air-actuated cylinders to the mixer door system. This synced the chute cover with the opening and closing of the chute and eliminated the dripping concrete. Now, when the valve opens the mixer door, the chute door also opens and freshly mixed concrete flows into the bucket. When the valve is shut, both doors close automatically and the concrete stays off the floor and out of the wastewater system.
An additional benefit of this enhancement is that it requires no special training and results in no lost time during the production process.
1st Place Product
Matec America, High Point, N.C.
Reduce & Reuse – Matec America’s Process Water Filtration System
Process water is a common byproduct of the production process, and how to deal responsibly with that water is an issue that every precaster needs to tackle. This year’s Associate Product Sustainability Award is presented to Matec America for providing a solution that recovers wash water without chemical additives.
The Matec Concrete Water Recycling System treats process water and sludge that occurs during the production process. The main component in this system is the Matec Filter Press. The filter press is a simple machine that separates the solids contained in the process water and compresses them into dry cakes that may be disposed of easily. The simplicity of the machine guarantees high-efficiency and reliability.
Feeding pumps inject the slurry into the filter press from the feeding head. A cloth material, combined with high pressure, compresses and dries the solid waste into dense cakes that reduce the volume of the solids by 80%. The remaining water can be reused for washing mixers and concrete recovery units.
- No need for ponds; economic disposal system
- Recovers, selects and recycles materials in the process water
- Recycles and reuses 95% of water in the process
- Reduces the mud volume by 80%, producing dry cakes
- Eco-friendly system with low maintenance costs
2017 Sustainability Awards Winners
1st Place Plant
Norwalk Concrete Industries, Norwalk, Ohio
A (Precast) Place in the Sun
1st Place Project
Cape Fear Precast, Jacksonville, N.C.
Un-Doing the Wave
1st Place Plant
Command Alkon, Birmingham, Alabama
Save Energy – Save $$$
1st Place Product
BASF Corp., Cleveland, Ohio