Getting Low-Carbon Concrete into Your Next Project: A Virtual Roundtable , 56 minutes

Watch this Premium Content Video!

Join Now - $19.95/mo

Already a premium member?
Log in now

Firm or campus member?
Click here

Concrete is one of the construction industry’s largest carbon emitters, responsible for about 5% to 8% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, yet it is also one of the most important building materials. 

There are well-proven ways to reduce concrete’s carbon footprint, such as replacing portland cement with supplementary cementitious materials, but for years design teams have lacked the material innovations, policy advancements, and experience necessary to meet widespread, scalable carbon reduction goals. 

In this one-hour deep dive, we speak with industry experts on current and potential low-carbon concrete technologies, how to track concrete’s embodied carbon, and how to specify viable low-carbon concrete. 

This virtual roundtable is not for beginners: our panel assumes you already know a fair bit about portland cement, concrete, and embodied carbon and are looking for practical takeaways that can be used in your next project. We discuss things like:

  • The embodied carbon problem with current portland cement production

  • How to reduce portland cement in a concrete mix

  • Performance impacts of these substitutions

  • Tracking carbon using environmental product declarations and other tools

  • How codes impact concrete selection

  • Regional challenges

This is your chance to:

  1. Understand how portland cement impacts concrete’s embodied carbon.

  2. Identify portland cement alternatives and other methods for reducing concrete’s embodied carbon.

  3. Describe how performance versus prescriptive specifications impact codes and low-carbon concrete selection.

  4. Evaluate low-carbon concrete selection methods based on region, product availability, performance, and other metrics.


Chris found his way to architecture after a decade of work in environmental activism. As one of ZGF’s resident sustainable design experts and a sought-after Excel wizard, Chris favors simple yet powerful tools to analyze data and understand how a project will impact and respond to the natural environment. He also knows that data alone doesn’t create change. Chris appreciates that to be successful in sustainable design and ensure meaningful impact, it’s important to meet clients where they are and find strategies that align with their values and missions.

Brent has more than 15 years of experience researching and writing about the health and environmental impacts of green building products and materials, including their hazards, risks, and environmental and life-cycle impacts. He has written extensively on the intersection between chemical treatments, additives, and product performance as well as on green building certifications, LEED Materials & Resources requirements, and more. Brent also provides consulting, workshops, and webinars, and leads an editorial team in selecting industry-leading products for the company’s green building product guidance and the company’s annual Top 10 Green Building Products award.

Bruce is the author of “The New Carbon Architecture” and "Build Beyond Zero” with Chris Magwood, and has been a structural engineer for 45 years, designing buildings of every size and type all over the world. He is also author of the ASTM standard for earthen construction, the Marin County low-carbon-concrete code, and the books “Buildings of Earth and Straw,” “Making Better Concrete,” and “Design of Straw Bale Buildings.” Bruce is also the founder and director of the Ecological Building Network (EBNet), a nonprofit information resource that sponsors the BuildWell Source (buildwellsource.org), an online library of low-carbon materials. 

StopWaste is a public agency in Alameda County, California working on energy and material efficiency. Miya focuses on the climate–material nexus, reducing carbon through circular economic solutions, and serves on the leadership team of the West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum as well as the steering committee of the Carbon Leadership Forum’s San Francisco Bay Area hub. In 2018, she was part of the team that shepherded Marin County’s low-carbon-concrete code development, and now convenes a Bay Area working group on embodied carbon policies. Miya has also managed energy-efficiency and climate-action programs at StopWaste and has worked in sustainability for local governments in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin counties since 2006.