July 15, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica to Require “Low-Carbon Concrete” in New Construction Projects

The Proposed Amendment Could Reduce the City’s Building Sector Concrete Embodied Carbon by 14%-33%

Taking a stride toward carbon neutrality, the City Council approved an ordinance on Tuesday mandating the use of low-carbon concrete for all new construction, swimming pools, and spas.

A standard concrete mixture comprises Portland cement, water, sand, and aggregates gravel. The production of cement is notably carbon-intensive, contributing to approximately 60% of emissions associated with concrete production, according to a City staff report. Low-carbon concrete mitigates these emissions by reducing the cement content in the mixture and substituting it with alternative cementitious materials. 

According to a staff report, the proposed low-carbon concrete amendment to the Building Code could reduce the City’s building sector concrete embodied carbon by 14%-33%. Embodied carbon is the carbon emissions from the manufacturing and transportation of building materials. 

Santa Monica has already integrated low-carbon concrete mixes into city infrastructure projects. Notable examples include the Moongate structure at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Flexibility is built into the ordinance, with exemptions allowing for special circumstances. These include projects necessitating less than three yards of onsite mixing for immediate needs, emergencies, supply chain disruptions, or instances where traditional concrete mix costs exceed those of low-carbon options.

Chief Sustainability Officer Shannon Parry expressed enthusiasm regarding the city’s progression toward carbon neutrality. “I’m thrilled to see our city continue to advance towards the goal of carbon neutrality,” she remarked. “We know the concrete industry is ready to supply low-carbon alternatives, and we are ready to implement this very important step in our fight against climate change.”

The ordinance is slated for a second reading on May 14th, with enforcement commencing 30 days thereafter.

The City of Santa Monica is actively pursuing multiple initiatives to curb citywide Greenhouse Gas emissions. These encompass:

  • The implementation of a 2019 Electric-Preferred building code amendment, which advocates for all-electric building design.
  • Participation in the Clean Power Alliance, providing customers with access to 100% renewable and carbon-free electricity.
  • Adoption of the EV Charger Reach Code, which mandates increased EV charging infrastructure in new constructions to promote EV accessibility and adoption.
  • The establishment of the Electrify Santa Monica rebate program, which offers incentives for residents and small businesses to install EV charging stations and transition from methane gas appliances to more energy-efficient electric alternatives.
  • Various energy efficiency initiatives and public EV infrastructure projects undertaken at municipal sites. Notably, energy savings resulting from four parking structure lighting retrofits in 2021 resulted in a noteworthy 44% average reduction in annual energy usage at these locations.
in Hard, News
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