Ordinance Approved For Use Of Low-Carbon Concrete

April 29, 2024 ·

The city of Santa Monica has approved an ordinance for low-carbon concrete. Photo courtesy of Tanner Vote via Unsplash.

SANTA MONICA—It was announced on April 25 that the Santa Monica City Council approved an ordinance that will require the use of low-carbon concrete for all new construction, swimming pools and spas.

As noted in a press release from the city’s website, traditional concrete is a mix that uses Portland cement, known as clinker, and other materials. The process of creating traditional concrete uses substantial energy that creates large amounts of embodied carbon emissions. Low-carbon concrete uses alternative materials that help decrease future carbon emissions.

“I’m thrilled to see our city continue to advance towards the goal of carbon neutrality,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Shannon Parry. “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.”

City staff conducted outreach to local concrete suppliers and builders in formulating the ordinance, and all expressed support and willingness to provide low-carbon concrete options. These options are available now and at a lower cost than traditional cement.

The city of Santa Monica currently uses low-carbon concrete mixes in city infrastructure projects, one example being the Moongate structure at Woodlawn Cemetery.

National examples of developments that have utilized low-carbon concrete materials include the One World Trade Center in New York and Wilshire Grand Center in downtown Los Angeles.

The ordinance does include exemptions to allow for flexibility, such as for projects that require less than three yards of onsite mixing for immediate needs, during emergencies, in cases of supply chain challenges or if the cost of traditional concrete mix is higher than low-carbon options.

Compliance checks for the new ordinance will be part of the Plan Check process. The ordinance will return for a second reading on May 14 and go into effect 30 days later. For more details, review the staff report, or view the Santa Monica City Council discussion.

By Trevor

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