One provision of Senate Bill 528 The Climate Solutions Now Act is a requirement that the Maryland Green Building Council examine and report by December 1st on means and methods to reduce the climate impacts of the concrete used in state projects.
Greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion and the chemical reaction involved in making cement and concrete are the single largest source of industrial emissions in the state. According to a forthcoming report from the University of Maryland, the state’s two cement plants account for all but a fraction of annual industrial emissions. Owners of the two plants are transitioning fuels used in kilns from coal to natural gas by 2028 and will produce only lower-carbon Portland Limestone Cement beginning early in 2023. Although Portland Limestone Cement may soon represent most or all of the in-state production, it has only been used in state projects on a limited basis.
The council is charged with looking at the use of environmental product declarations, implementation of performance-based specification standards to meet outcomes related to strength, durability, permeability and other attributes while also meeting content specifications based on a maximum potential for global warming.
The council is circulating an industry survey on the cost and feasibility of using low-carbon concrete in construction projects and has extended the deadline to reply past the original September 2nd date.
The Maryland activity follows closely behind a February announcement by the General Services Administration that it would adopt maximum carbon content thresholds for cement production and the concrete used in federal projects.