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Sooke company reduces environmental impact with new technologies

Butler Concrete cementing a greener way to build
Travis Butler, president of Butler Concrete and Aggregate, says reducing the environmental impact during the production of their products is a priority. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)

A company with a long history in Sooke is providing concrete proof it can reduce the environmental impact of its product.

Travis Butler, president of Butler Concrete and Aggregate, said the company is the first in Western Canada to adopt new technologies to reduce the environmental impact of producing its products.

“I started as a child working for my dad, and I’ve been pushing for environmental solutions for about 15 years,” said Butler, who took over as president five years ago for the family business that’s been in operation for 85 years.

As a third-generation family member working in an industry with high CO2 emissions, Butler looked for ways to reduce the company’s environmental impact.

“With partners like Lafarge Holcim, we have been embracing new cement and cementitious materials technologies, focusing on cost neutrality. It’s not a specialty product, but simply a better way to produce concrete,” Butler said.

As the top producer in North America for reducing its environmental impact, Butler Concrete has achieved certification by the American Society of Testing and Materials, making it the first Canadian producer to do so.

“We’re starting to see changes in the marketplace where these kinds of changes are validated in the industry, and it’s definitely rewarding,” Butler said.

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Butler said eight per cent of the impact on the environment is related to the production of cement

“Cement is to concrete what flour is to bread,” he explained. “Cement is the glue that holds it all together, so reducing the demand for cement in concrete has a significant impact. A big part of that is less time in the kiln (during production), which is a major producer of CO2.”

Butler said that slag cement, a product used in place of regular cement, is another way Butler Concrete and Aggregate reduces environmental impact because it reduces the amount of fly ash produced.

He has been meeting with municipalities to pitch the benefits of the company’s environmentally friendlier approach, including preliminary discussions with the District of Sooke. He is working with Empire Hydrogen based in Sidney to reduce fuel usage in the delivery of their products.

Langford initially approved a policy mandating the use of low-carbon concrete in June 2022 but made changes to allow more companies to compete because Butler was the only company producing it.

RELATED: Langford tweaks low-carbon concrete policy

Langford’s new policy will shift to carbon mineralization in concrete in two phases. The first will require concrete in projects in Langford to meet the industry baseline for B.C.

The second phase will shift the emphasis onto building designers to better plan ways to cut emissions to targets set by the city.

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About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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