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Carbon for Good

Carbon for Good

On November 17, 2021 Lorraine Davis was given the keys to her new home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. But it’s not just any home. In fact, it’s the first-ever concrete block home built by Habitat for Humanity. Even better? It’s the first to use low carbon concrete products.

CarbonBuilt was part of a great team, including Build With Strength, Habitat for Humanity Tuscaloosa, the Alabama Concrete Industries Association, CEMEX USA and the National Concrete Masonry Association. Volunteers from Mercedes Benz USA constructed the home alongside concrete and masonry specialists.

This particular story began more than a decade ago, when Tuscaloosa was ravaged by tornadoes. In fact, many parts of the state continue to be impacted by climate-driven weather events. This backdrop is critical to understanding why this home is not just a home. It’s also a microcosm of what’s possible when you align priorities, build coalitions and innovate.

Jobs: This home is one of 40 planned homes in the area, part of Habitat’s "Operation Transformation" initiative which provides job training for high school students seeking a construction trade in partnership with the Tuscaloosa Career and Technology Academy.

Resiliency & Safety: In an era of increasingly frequent and higher intensity disasters, this home will stand out for its resiliency and safety. When the Big Bad Wolf threatens to huff and puff and blow the house down, this gold level FORTIFIED home, which includes a low carbon concrete safe room, will protect Lorraine and her family.

Sustainability & Innovation: The concrete blocks for this home were produced by diverting CO2 emissions from a coal-fired power plant at the National Carbon Capture Center into the “curing” chamber – the final stage of block production. When the emissions were “fed” into our new, lower carbon concrete mix, the result was concrete blocks containing substantially less embodied carbon. The CO2 will remain trapped in that concrete for millennia.

Community: From the partnerships related to job training, the coalition of concrete and masonry providers, the volunteer builders from Mercedes Benz and the pantry stocked full of food courtesy of First Presbyterian Church, this project shows the power of community.

We were honored, humbled and inspired by our participation in this effort and look forward to bringing the collective benefits of sustainable building to more people.

You can read more about the project here:

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