Description: Of all building materials, Portland cement – one of the primary components of concrete – has a particularly intense impact on the climate. Carbon dioxide emitted from cement production is the second largest source of industrial CO2 emissions in the United States.
In 2018, California’s San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) provided funding under their Climate Protection Grant Program for a project to create template building codes, technical performance specifications, and model policies for low embodied-carbon concrete. The project is led by Marin County, with support from Alameda County, the City and County of San Francisco, the US Green Building Council, other Bay Area governments, and numerous organizations.
Goal: Reduce embodied CO2 emissions in building materials, starting with concrete
Measurement: Percent decline in CO2 emissions from cement production
Time to Implement: Approximately one year to define requirements
Low-Carbon Concrete Requirements
Marin County Adopts Low-Carbon Concrete Building Code
Low-Carbon Concrete Code
Carbon Impact of Concrete
There are four key outcomes identified in the work plan:
1. These requirements were adopted by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on November 19, 2019.
2. Low embodied-carbon concrete specifications for residential and non-residential applications.
3. Four pilot projects receiving technical assistance to apply the specifications by 2022.
4. Formation of a Bay Area Concrete Working Group as an extension of the Embodied Carbon Network.
Planner – Marin County