Building Magazine


PCI, CPCI & NPCA develop life-cycle assessment for precast concrete

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) is partnering with the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (CPCI) and the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) to perform a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of precast concrete components.


“With the growing requirements for sustainable design and construction, it is important that the precast, prestressed concrete industry work cooperatively to better understand the environmental impact of precast concrete,” noted Emily Lorenz. PCI’s director of sustainability. “Overall, the objective of this research is to foster a better understanding of the use of precast/prestressed concrete components and, if needed, make modifications to our processes to reduce our environmental impact.”


The review group for the LCA initiative includes: Jim Lewis, chair of the PCI Sustainability Committee; Tess Ahlborn, PCI R&D Committee representative; Frank Nadeau, PCI R&D Committee representative; John Fowler, president of CPCI; Brian Hall, national marketing director for CPCI; Caroline Alain, chair of the CPCI Sustainability Committee; Eric Wheeler, NPCA Sustainability Committee; and Nick Lewis, director of sustainability for NPCA.


The actual LCA research will be conducted by a joint venture of Morrison Hershfield, The Athena Institute, and George Venta.


Phase one of the research, scheduled to be completed by September 2009, is a life-cycle assessment of the precast concrete from cradle to completion and occupancy of the structure — including the impacts of raw material extraction and precast concrete product manufacturing to product transportation and building construction. Phase two, scheduled to start immediately following phase one, will model the actual use of the building.


PCI is also seeking manufacturing sponsors for the research. Thus far, BASF Construction Chemicals has pledged support of this important sustainability initiative. To learn more about this research and sustainability, visit

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