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Gundersen Lutheran Health System campus
Gundersen Lutheran Health System campus
January 10, 2013 7:00 AM CST

Blended cements aid in sustainable design, construction

Green building case study


In pursuit of LEED ratings and other green building goals, healthcare organizations are increasingly relying on innovative cement blends in the construction of new high-performance facilities.

As the demand for environmentally friendly design and building practices continues to grow, innovative cement blends from Lafarge North America are making a strong contribution to the construction of high-performance healthcare facilities around the country. Gundersen Lutheran Health System in Wisconsin, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and The Moses H. Memorial Hospital in North Carolina are just three examples of healthcare construction projects using blended cements to achieve high-strength, long-term durability and resource conservation.

Cementitious blends, which are a combination of Portland cement and one or more supplementary cementing materials (SCMs), have many properties that contribute to sustainable building goals, such as those prescribed in the LEED green building rating system. Their use not only results in durable, high-performance concrete, but also it saves virgin raw materials, lowers energy consumption, and turns by-products from other industries into resources that would, otherwise, be disposed of in landfills. The most common SCMs are slag cement (a by-product of the iron-manufacturing process), fly ash (a coal combustion by-product from power plants), and silica fume (a by-product of manufacturing silicon metals and ferro-silicon alloys).

When Gundersen Lutheran Health System’s multi-year campus renewal project is complete, the new facility in La Crosse, Wis., will achieve high marks in sustainability. Designed following LEED principles, the center’s new hospital will feature numerous environmentally friendly elements in areas such as energy efficiency, recycled construction materials and building design.

In addition, many of the project’s construction materials are being produced locally, including the concrete containing Lafarge’s Type I/II Portland cement and Columbia Class C fly ash. A parking ramp at the medical center also used Lafarge’s SF cement, which is produced by blending Portland cement and silica fume. The project’s first phase of construction is scheduled to be completed in late-2013.

About 75 miles from La Crosse, the Mayo Clinic is improving both human and environmental sustainability with the construction of a new proton therapy facility in downtown Rochester, Minn. The $188 million facility will expand the Mayo Clinic’s capabilities in radiation treatment to include state-of-the-art proton beam therapy that preciously targets tumors, maximizing the ability to cure more cancers and help people live longer. The specialized treatment facility’s eco-friendly design includes concrete containing a blend of Lafarge’s Type I/II Portland cement, Columbia Class C fly ash, and Newcem slag cement. The first treatment rooms will be available for patients in 2015.

Lafarge blended cement also is playing a key role in the construction of a $200 million, six-story North Tower at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, N.C. The 260,000-square-foot expansion – the largest construction project in the hospital’s 58-year history – specifies 40 percent cementitious replacement to earn LEED credits.

The LEED Gold project is using Lafarge Portland cement and Lafarge NewCem, a finely ground, granulated blast furnace slag cement engineered to achieve greater strength potential and long-term durability. By combining these cements successfully, the hospital will reduce the building’s carbon footprint. The North Tower is expected to be completed in June 2013.

Originally published in Masonry magazine.

About the Author

Lafarge North America is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the U.S. and Canada, producing and selling cement, ready-mixed concrete, gypsum wallboard, aggregates, asphalt and paving. Learn more about Lafarge North America at


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