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Sustainability and Slag Cement

Did You Know...
    • Empire_State_Building_2005 comp.jpgThat slag cement has been in worldwide use since the late 1800's, and was used in projects such as the Paris Underground, and the Empire State Building?
    • During the last 10 years, there has been over 29 million metric tons of slag cement consumed in the U.S. saved the equivalent:
            • Carbon dioxide emissions of 4.1 million passenger cars;
            • Energy consumption of 596,000 homes;
            • Virgin materials to produce enough portland cement for 22,000 lane-miles of 8-inch thick concrete roads?
    • That finishing.jpgslag cement can replace up to 50% of portland cement in most common concrete mixtures, and up to 80% in massive concrete elements and other specialized structures?

    • Stack Gas comp.jpgThat replacing portland cement with slag cement in concrete can save up to 59% of the embodied carbon dioxide emissions and 42% of the embodied energy required to manufacture concrete and its constituent materials?
    • That the EPA recognizes the benefits of using slag cement, and requires (in EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines) that Federally-funded projects, in most cases, include slag cement in concrete specifications?
    • That Transmission Line comp.jpgif all the blast furnace slag in the U.S. were converted into slag cement and used in concrete (and other applications), an additional 7.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 35 trillion BTUs of energy could be saved? This would increase the current level of savings by more than 200%!
What is Slag Cement?
Slag cement is a byproduct of an iron blast furnace, part of an integrated steel mill.  When molten slag is separated from iron in a blast furnace, it can be rapidly quenched with water (“granulated”), dried and ground to a fine powder. At this point it becomes slag cement (or ground granulated blast furnace slag).   Learn more...
How Is Slag Cement Used?

Slag cement is generally used to replace between 20 and 80% of portland cement in concrete, depending on application, job requirements and environmental conditions.  Slag cement can also be used in other construction applications such as stabilized bases or soils, grouts, flowable fills, and solidification/fixation of hazardous wastes.
Learn more...

Why Is Slag Cement Sustainable?

Slag cement is one of the most sustainable construction materials available because it (click on hyperlinks below to learn more):

(Click here to download an information sheet on Slag Cement and the Envioronment)

Can Slag Cement Contribute to LEED Certification?

LEED™ stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a product of the U.S. Green Building Council.  It is a set of national standards used to certify high-performance, sustainable buildings.

LEED-NC is the most widely-used of these standards and is used for new construction or major renovations.  LEED-NC utilizes a point-based system to rank specific levels of sustainable performance in six categories.  Slag cement can contribute to achieving 13 specific LEED-NC points.  For more infomation on slag cement and LEED, download the following SCA publications:

External Resources
SCA Resources

SCA provides several resources to designers, specifiers and contractors, to establish the sustainable benefits in a project, and to ensure that applications with slag cement are specified and contructed properly:

  • Slag Cement and Life Cycle Prediction Models (SCIC No. 23), an information sheet that discusses how service life prediction models can help designers determine appropriate strategies (including the use of slag cement) that produce durable concrete which will last for a given service life. 
  • Life-365, is a standard model developed for predicting the Service Life and Life-Cycle Cost of Reinforced Concrete exposed to chlorides. SCA is a partner in the development of the current Version 2.2.2, which is available as a free download at Life-365.