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Sustainability in concrete talks at ACC

September 19, 2012
Emily Siegmon - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ALPENA - Alpena Community College will host three presentations Sept. 28 to expand community interest and knowledge about sustainability in construction, with an emphasis on concrete sustainability. Don MacMaster, dean of workforce development at ACC, said the presentation is directly connected to the research involved with the college's National Science Foundation grant.

"To the best of my knowledge ACC never had an NSF grant. It usually goes to research universities, and community colleges aren't usually in that game. However, due to our involvement and concrete niche, we put the proposal together and got funding," he said.

According to MacMaster, the NSF grant specifically called for community involvement, which is why ACC is providing the upcoming presentation on concrete sustainability in construction.

"The presentation explains what we're doing. We wanted to engage the community through speakers and want as many folks aware of our presentation as possible, hopefully high school science classes attend," he said.

The NSF grant, which MacMaster wrote a year and a half ago, is currently providing funding for additional research involving capturing C02, one of the key ingredients in cement.

"Concrete is the second most-used commodity in the world, besides water, it's all around us. We're working on an interesting project that could potentially do some good, societally," he said. "Cement emits a lot of C02, the main component of greenhouse gases. We are figuring out a way to become more carbon neutral or emit less C02, which is a big part of the process."

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ACC will be hosting presentations about sustainability Sept. 28 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at Granum Theatre. The presentations will feature three speakers - John Staton, concrete operations and materials engineer at Michigan Department of Transportation; Oscar Tavares, professional consultant and co-ivestigator of ACC's NSF-sponsored research in carbon dioxide in concrete; and Bruce Frost, ACC instructor of green building and sustainability.

Each speaker will present information regarding MDOT work in concrete infrastructure and sustainability, the goals of the rating system of Leadership in Energy Efficient Design in contruction, and ACC's research in CO2 in concrete.

"This is an important, worldwide issue. We're hoping to spark a lot of interest looking at efficiency," MacMaster said.

Fact Box

What: Sustainability in construction, concrete presentations

When: Sept. 28, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Where: Alpena Community College's Granum Theatre

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.



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