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CarbonCure in Chicago

October 24, 2018

The growing green movement in Chicago boasts innovative buildings and an increasing request for sustainability. CarbonCure technology, a movement to sequester CO2 within concrete, is one of the green industry’s latest advancements. CarbonCure strengthens concrete while simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint.

Christie Gamble, CarbonCure’s Director of Sustainability, shares in an interview with Ozinga that this technology “actually helps to improve the compressive strength of the concrete, which allows concrete producers, like Ozinga here in Chicago, to be able to reduce cement content, which means they can provide more sustainable concrete to Chicago.”

While Chicago has one of several leading roles in CarbonCure’s prosperous future, many of the city’s architects still express the desire to practice more sustainable building and design. Gamble believes that “Ozinga, with the CarbonCure technology, is able to help those architects and engineers to reduce their carbon footprint and meet the goals of that challenge.” Since 2016, CarbonCure technology has been installed at four of Ozinga’s Greater Chicago Area plants, including three locations in the city and one in the suburbs. Ozinga harvests our CO2 from the United Ethanol plant in Wisconsin. The amount of CO2 in a specific mix of concrete depends on the amount of cement in the mix.

“The production of cement, the critical ingredient that gives concrete its strength, is responsible for up to 7 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. Concrete has a smaller CO2 impact per volume than other materials, but its abundance means that it creates more CO2 overall than any other material,” shares Gamble.

Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, CarbonCure Technology is installed in almost 100 plants in the U.S. and Canada. “That’s a fraction of the estimated 5,500 plants in the U.S. alone,” reports Rachel Crane, CNN Innovative Correspondent, in an interview with Gamble. Gamble understands that, in order to increase this number and “to make an environmental impact, you have to make business sense.”

With this mission in mind, Gamble sees potential for CarbonCure: “If this technology is deployed across the globe, we could reduce about 700 megatons of CO2 each year. That’s the same as taking 150 million cars off the road every year.” Gamble adds that “CarbonCure’s vision is to make the introduction of CO2 into concrete standard for all concrete production across the globe. We also imagine a world in which CO2 is sourced from cement plants and used downstream by concrete plants to make stronger and greener concrete.”

Ozinga is helping to tackle concrete’s carbon footprint in the Greater Chicago Area. In addition to using CarbonCure in residential homes, Ozinga has partnered with +Plus House, an eco-friendly, home-building company in the Chicago area with nine house locations and counting. Since September 2017, all +Plus House homes have CarbonCure concrete foundations.

Phil Buoscio, +Plus House Broker, describes +Plus Houses’ CarbonCure initiative: “It allows us to get LEED points for choosing those better products and it also allows us to make the buyer feel like they’re reducing their carbon footprint, which they are.”

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