In response to ever-increasing market demand for sustainable building solutions, Lafarge North America recently introduced a new portland-limestone cement (PLC) commercial offering in Canada. Widely used in Europe for over 25 years, PLC is a new category of cement that provides performance similar to conventional portland cement with up to 10% less CO2 emissions.
Approved for use by the Canadian Standards Association, the National Building Code of Canada, and the British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec Building Codes, PLC is produced by inter-grinding portland cement clinker with between 6% and 15% limestone. Based on a number of trials, considerable testing and Lafarge’s approach to PLC, the new GUL cement with as much as 15% limestone—well below the 35% limit in Europe—will achieve comparable performance to regular portland cement in terms of concrete workability, set time, durability and all ages of concrete strength development.
Because of these performance similarities and the significant sustainability advantages, Lafarge will start the transition from regular portland cement to PLC this year. Customers in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are currently being supplied PLC from Lafarge’s plants in Richmond, British Columbia, and Bath, Ontario. Product introduction to other provinces will occur as additional testing and updates to local building codes are completed, which is expected by the end of 2012.
With the potential to bring about a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the production of PLC at Lafarge’s Richmond and Bath cement operations alone is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 160,000 metric tons annually, equivalent to taking more than 30,000 cars off the road. In addition, concrete containing combinations of PLC and varying levels of supplementary cementing materials (up to 50%) will permit further reductions in the carbon footprint.