With California among the top cement-producing states in the US and some of its city streets and freeways approaching 100 years with limited maintenance, Thomas Tietz tells CemWeek Magazine how the story of concrete is underrated, and how California cement producers are planning to curb CO2 emissions over the long term.
This interview originally appeared in CemWeek 47. Click here or on the image to read the full interview
Thomas Tietz is the Executive Director of the California Nevada Cement Association (CNCA) and is actively involved with and oversees CNCA’s regulatory, legislative, marketing and education efforts. The core markets that the association focuses on include pavement technologies, geotechnical solutions and buildings.
Tom’s career started in architecture. After receiving a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Architecture from the University of Illinois and practicing as a licensed architect, Tom has been working for trade associations since the mid 90’s. These associations include CNCA and the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute. He has provided seminar topics to agencies, architects, engineers, contractors and universities across the United States.
In an exclusive interview with CemWeek Magazine, Thomas shares his insights on the role the CNCA has been playing in advocating for the California cement industry, and on the challenges of a sector that is trying to keep up with increasingly tight environmental regulations.
The California Nevada Cement Association (CNCA) is committed to developing sustainable and economical construction solutions for California and Nevada with an emphasis on the use of cement and concrete. How would you describe the role of the Association, and what achievements have been accomplished so far?
I believe that the role of our association is more important than ever. We are in a crucial moment of time where new metrics are currently under development by the State to compare construction materials, not just on the traditional initial cost to install, maintain, repair and replace, but on the basis of a product’s environmental footprint. It is crucial that any comparison of competing materials be conducted in a manner that is open and transparent and achieves an apples-to-apples life-cycle analysis.
We must assure that California and Nevada cement and concrete materials are understood accurately and truly valued for their superior performance. CNCA takes on these efforts by relentlessly advocating for our industry, whether that means providing project design assistance to testimony before state legislative committees to address crucial matters impacting our industry through policy and legislation. Ultimately, CNCA is committed to protecting and improving market share in a very challenging dynamic market. This is difficult but very rewarding.
CNCA’s engineers are highly regarded technical resources in our marketplace that are sought for their expertise on a full range of geotechnical and pavement solutions. They are also instrumental in pioneering innovative solutions that are both cost-competitive at initial installation with asphalt while reducing use-phase maintenance burdens. We have an excellent reputation for working collaboratively with state agencies and legislatures in both California and Nevada.
In 2017, CNCA released a “Study of Historical Concrete Pavements in California”. What are the main takeaways of this study, and how does it reflect the evolution of the California cement industry throughout the years?
The resilience of concrete is a remarkable story that is often unrecognized and thus underreported. The simple fact is California already has benefited from city streets and freeways built in concrete that are still going strong for greater than 50 years, with some approaching 100 years with limited or no maintenance cost whatsoever.
California is one of the top cement producing states in the US, which translates into high levels of energy consumption and of GHG emissions. How does the CNCA evaluate the environmental impact of the Californian cement sector?
Since the implementation in 2006 of the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) and a series of complimentary legislation, regulations, planning and Executive Orders, California has begun a process to reduce GHG emissions 80% by 2050. The California cement industry immediately recognized the importance as well as complexity and cost to achieve GHG reductions in the production of cement. For example, process emissions represent greater than 50% of the CO2 released during the production of cement. Because of the magnitude of this challenge, California cement producers established a separate association to specifically address the environmental, economic and legal dynamics of protecting the viability of producing cement in California. This group, the Coalition for Sustainable Cement Manufacturing and the Environment, has committed to working with the California Air Resources Board to achieve workable solutions to achieve the State’s environmental goals. This is an ongoing effort that will only get more challenging with increasingly aggressive goals being set by the state (...)
Read the full interview in CemWeek 47