Contract Surety

​Constructing Possibilities



Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are advancing the development of concrete substitutes that are durable and better for the climate. Newly patented Enzymatic Construction Material (ECM) is not just friendlier to the environment then concrete: it actually sucks carbon out of the air. Here’s the scoop.


Replacing Concrete?

Understandably, it’s going to take some time for viable alternatives to widely replace concrete, but making progress matters. As Construction Dive reports, after water, concrete “is the most widely used substance on the planet,” and has a “massive environmental cost” due to the energy used to create it. Since concrete can’t be recycled, the extra energy ultimately required to eliminate it takes an environmental toll too. At Worcester Polytechnic, Suzanne Scarlata and Nima Rahbar are focused on “creating a low-energy building material to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.” Though their Enzymatic Construction Material (ECM) needs further development before it can be used on an apartment building, it can now be used on builds with lower loads, such as the side of a house. Progress is promising, as shared by Construction Dive:


Cement use and production accounts for about 8% of global CO2 emissions, according to a 2019 study from the National Academy of Sciences. An alternative building material like ECM could go a long way towards enabling a sustainable construction industry, according to the researchers.


ECM is made of carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme found in living cells. When it connects with CO2, it creates calcium carbonate crystals, ECMs primary component. Other ingredients of the new mixture include sand slurry and polymer, a binding agent. The result is a material that can remove greenhouse CO2 from the air and safely store it, Scarlata and Rahbar said. 

While concrete produces 400 lbs of CO2 per cubic yard, ECM holds about 18 lbs of CO2. In addition, the ECM recycling process is far less energy-consuming than concrete, the researchers said.


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Good To Know

From daylighting buried brooks in New York, to restoring clean water in the Great Lakes region, water infrastructure projects are getting underway across the country. As Forbes has reported, the federal infrastructure package contains two primary buckets of investments for our water system: $55 billion to replace all the nations lead pipes and service lines…; and, $48 billion for water infrastructure improvements. Specifically, $1 billion is slated  to clean up the heavy industrial pollution in the Great Lakes region.


Getting in the flow for public works means bonding time. Bid bonds, performance bonds and payment bonds have long served to advance and safeguard public building projects across the country. That doesn’t mean the process of obtaining bonds has to be a slow slog through muddy waters, though: Colonial Surety’s a direct writer—so we’ve sped everything up. We underwrite construction companies based on the power of their financial statements, giving qualified builders power of attorney to issue their own bid bonds, and more. Let’s think big—and move fast—together. Complete the pre-qualification for your written surety-line of credit and The Partnership Account® services today—and receive, for free, Dun & Bradstreet scores. Pre-Qualify and Get Free Scores Here.


Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.