VAST Enterprises works to reduce CO2 emissions

VAST put its products through life cycle assessments encouraged by the nonprofit Architecture 2030.

May 12, 2011
Supplier News

MINNEAPOLIS – Leaders in architecture and green building have challenged the manufacturers of building products to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from product manufacture and transportation. For 2030, the goal is a 50 percent reduction from the average embodied carbon footprint by product category. For at least one type of product, landscape and permeable pavers, there is no need to wait for 19 more Earth Days before such an ambitious goal is not just reached but surpassed.

On Earth Day, VAST Enterprises announced that VAST Composite Pavers have achieved a 96 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to concrete pavers. One square foot of concrete pavers embodies more than 40 pounds of CO2. The equivalent for VAST Composite Pavers is 1.5 pounds.

“Every 10,000 square feet of concrete pavers result in 412,264 pounds of CO2 emissions. With VAST Composite Pavers, it’s only 15,432 pounds,” said Andy Vander Woude, chief executive officer, VAST Enterprises. “The 396,832 pound reduction with VAST is equivalent to keeping 35 passenger cars off the road for a year.”

Architecture 2030, a nonprofit, non-partisan and independent organization, was established in 2002 in response to the climate change crisis. Its mission is to transform the building sector from a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution.The organization’s 2030 Challenge for Products calls on the global architecture, planning, design and building community to specify, design and manufacture products to meet a carbon-equivalent footprint 35 percent below the product category average in 2015; 40 percent in 2020; 45 percent in 2025; and 50 percent by 2030.

Architecture 2030, which will not endorse particular products, is devoting two years from 2011 to 2013 to the development of industry standards and product averages via Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). The LCA undertaken by VAST follows the methodology outlined in ISO 14040:2006 and relies on U.S. Department of Energy data to calculate energy use, water consumption and CO2 production for concrete and VAST’s composite material. The LCA covers materials processing, materials transportation and product manufacture.

“Standards will be defined, debatedand refined. VAST shows today that innovative manufacturers can achieve significant reductions in their products’ carbon footprints,” said Troy Achterkirch, vice president, operations and engineering, VAST Enterprises, LLC. “That’s why we are making our LCA data and calculations available to the green building community.”

VAST Enterprises has developed and patented material science technology that transforms post-consumer recycled rubber and plastics into a new green building material: composite masonry. All composite masonry products are cradle-to-cradle green. The manufacturing process starts with recycled car tires and plastic containers, emits minimal amounts of greenhouse gases, does not generate volatile organic compounds, yields zero scrap and creates products that are 100 percent recyclable.

“Every 10,000-square foot installation keeps 5,000 tires and 150,000 plastic containers from getting dumped in U.S. landfills,” said Steve Smith, chief technology officer, VAST Enterprises. “VAST installations to date have used more than four million pounds of recycled rubber and plastics and prevented more than 1.7 million pounds of CO2 emissions.”

Note: Copies of the VAST Life Cycle Assessment report are available in a PDF. Requests should be sent via email to