CHICAGO—The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute has created a committee that will help develop concepts and techniques related to sustainable design for both architects and precast manufacturers. The committee met at PCI’s fall convention in October 2007 to outline goals and strategies.

"For several years, PCI has been working to aid architects in using precast concrete for sustainable design, but these efforts have been spread through all of our committees and staff work," explained James G. Toscas, president. "This committee will focus those efforts and maximize the contribution we can make in this critical area."

Jim Lewis, director of architectural systems for Gate Precast Co., and the committee chairman, said, "Architects and owners are actively seeking information that will help them create sustainable designs that are cost-effective, functional, and efficient. Our goal is to produce materials that are most in demand by this audience and ensure they receive the technical information they need." Emily Lorenz, editor of the PCI Journal magazine, serves as staff liaison for the group.

In addition to working to promote sustainable design concepts to architects, the group also is leading PCI’s efforts to improve environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques used by its PCI-certified plants. These include optimizing material usage, making efficient use of water, reducing energy use, and minimizing site disturbance. "Our goal is to help precasters meet achievable but stringent goals to reduce the industry’s environmental, societal, and economic impact," Lewis said.

For more information on the committee’s work, contact Emily Lorenz at 312- 583-6773 or