Canadian Guide for Sustainable Concrete Design Embraces Water Balance Model


The Guide to Sustainable Design with Concrete is a tool developed to assist the design community in their drive toward sustainable design. Due to its widespread use, much of the content in the guide is based on the provisions of the LEED® assessment system. The specific requirements of the new LEED Canada-NC 1.0 version have been incorporated to reflect the most current Canadian practice. Additionally, the document incorporates project examples that illustrate how the sustainable benefits of concrete products have been realized in many real building projects. 

LEED Credit for Stormwater Management

In the section titled Sustainable Sites, the guide demonstrates how the Water Balance Model can be applied to obtain the LEED Credit for Stormwater Management for a commercial development site. The LEED criteria for stormwater management are two-fold:

  1. If existing site imperviouness is less than or equal 50%, implement a stormwater management plan that prevents the post-development 1.5 year, 24-hour peak discharge rate from exceeding the pre-developmetn, 24-hour peak discharge rate,


  2. If existing imperviousness is greater than 50%, implment a stormwater management plan that results in a 25% decrease in the rate and quantity of stormwater runoff.

The results of a Water Balance Model case study illustrate the role that  concrete products can play in achieving rainwater management objectives at the site level. The case study example in the guide employs pervious pavers. According to Andrew Vizer, Technical Support Engineer with the Cement Association for Canada, “We had heard about the Water Balance Model and the fact that it includes a module for pervious pavers. So it was a natural fit to include a case study applicatio in the guiden. In the process the Cement Association for Canada believes it has opened the eyes of site designers to the benefits of both the Water Balance Model and pervious concrete products.”


Sustainability and Cement

The cement industry, internationally, has chosen to adopt an agenda for sustainable development for three reasons: to prepare for a more sustainable future; to meet the expectations of stakeholders; and to individually identify and capitalize on new market opportunities.

In Canada, in addition to implementing this action plan, the cement industry proactively brings forward concrete solutions designed to help Canada meet its emission reduction targets in a variety of other sectors including: transportation, agriculture, residential and commercial buildings

In an effort that began in 1999, ten cement companies came together under the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to state their joint position on sustainability. The process was launched when the Battelle Memorial Institute was commissioned to conduct independent research into how the cement industry can meet sustainability challenges. Battelle’s final report, ‘Toward a Sustainable Cement Industry’ was released in April 2002.

In keeping with their international counterparts, Canadian cement manufacturers are actively engaged in implementing the strategies set out in the ‘Cement Sustainability Initiative Agenda for Action’ with particular emphasis on climate protection.

For more information, click on this link to the Cement Association of Canada website.

Cement association of canada logo - dec 2006


Posted December 2006