Tag Sustainability

London Olympics: The Future of Sustainability


The 2012 Olympics are now underway, and everyone is tuning in to watch world-tier athletes compete for fame, glory, and personal fulfillment. Team USA stars like Michael Phelps, Lolo Jones, Alexander Massialas, Natalie Coughlin and Gabrielle Douglas are filling headlines and capturing the rapt attention of American audiences (and fans worldwide!).  But among the many Olympics categories, such as synchronized swimming, fencing and sprinting, there is one other “event” that is four years in the making: Olympic Architecture!

When a city is declared the official location for the next Olympic Games, local designers and construction workers immediately get to work. They need to create venues that will both match the majesty of the occasion and dazzle tourists. These stadiums stand as a symbol of national pride and are often massive revenue sources for local government, so their designs are definitely not taken lightly! And this year, sustainability and eco-conscious design were very important. The Olympic Stadium was built as a landmark achievement in eco-friendly design.


London’s Olympic Stadium is located in Olympic Park, Stratford, London, U.K. For the building, the London Olympics created a Sustainability Plan which includes 5 major tenets.

  1. Climate change — greenhouse gas emissions were reduced and facilities were designed to be adaptable to climate change.
  2. Waste – there was clear focus on minimizing it every step of the way in the construction of the project, preventing any landfill use during the actual games,
    and utilization of new East London waste processing methods.
  3. Biodiversity – protecting the local wildlife and their habitats was critical.
  4. Inclusion – attendance was encouraged by all peoples at the Games, and new employment and business opportunities for citizens of the UK were created.
  5. Healthy Living — an obvious and inherent part of the Olympic Games, the building and events are meant to encourage and inspire sports and the adoption of
    healthy, sustainable lifestyles.

To these ends, the stadium’s composition is over 30% recycled, and it uses 60% less potable water than similar contemporary stadia. A special cold foam process was used for the access roads, which reduces the energy needed to lay them and adds to the total recycled content.

Another important feature of the stadium facilities? They’re “temporary” designs, meaning that they can be reduced in size once Olympics 2012 are over. This way, they won’t simply become ghost towns using up valuable space and wasting precious resources. During the games the stadium seats 80,000, but after the closing ceremonies it can be reduced in size to a 60,000-seat permanent stadium in legacy when the upper tiers are removed. In addition, this stadium uses half the steel of most modern stadiums, which makes it the lightest Olympic Stadium ever constructed.

The Aquatics Centre, home to the legendary Olympic water sports and designed by Zaha Hadid, is also temporary in design. Seating 17,500 people for the Games, it can be reduced dramatically to a 2,500-seater when the two wings are removed. Ammonia-based chillers were used instead of traditional HFC chillers, reducing the climate change impact. The post-games design for the Centre was built to the BREEAM excellent standard.

aquatics centre

Sustainability is a big concern in the world today. John D’Amelio, President of Precast Specialties Corp., has always emphasized the value of precast and its role in a project’s LEED certification. Precast concrete wall panels can often be reused because they are so durable. It also minimizes waste on the job site, and it’s partially composed of recycled materials like fly ash and recycled steel. Precast concrete is inherently sustainable, and a great choice for eco-friendly construction.

The Olympic Stadium facilities were recently nominated for the 2012 Stirling Prize, the top award for architecture in Britain. And you bet precast concrete has something to do with it! Precast seating tiers and plinth, combined with the white main structural elements and the secondary ones colored black, make quite the flashy ensemble that is also quite friendly to the environment! All in all, the facilities will provide an impressive and cutting edge stage for some of the greatest athletes in the world, and should inform and inspire building design for years to come.

Photo Credit: Times Live, Architecture List, Web Designer Depot


Precast Specialties Corp. specializes in architectural concrete panels, concrete roadway products and exceptional custom precast products including seawall panels, boat ramps and large support piers. All of our custom products are cast in our factory utilizing 5,000 psi, super-plasticized, air-entrained concrete. We can produce virtually any color, finish or texture to meet your project needs. Find out what our clients and contractors have to say about our work, or see for yourself by contacting us for your next project at:

Precast Specialties Corp.
999 Adams Street
P.O. Box 86
Abington, MA 02351
Tel: (781)878-7220
Fax: (781)878-7464


Architecture Firm Spotlight: Gensler


With locations worldwide, from Abu Dhabi to Atlanta to Tokyo, Gensler & Associates influence design on an impressive scale. Working with clients for architecture, interior design, planning and urban development, sustainability and even product design, Precast Specialties Corp. applauds the innovative, multi-faceted work Gensler produces.

UC Tower
UC Tower - Shanghai

At 100 meters tall and with 59,000 square meters of office space, this 25-story Grade “A” building responds to the growing demand for high-end commercial real estate in Pudong’s Zhuyuang District in Shanghai.

One Thousand Steps
One Thousand Steps - Laguna Beach

One Thousand Steps in Laguna Beach, CA offers an edited selection of denim friendly, fashion-forward merchandise within a modern and sophisticated store design featuring an innovative on-the-sales-floor storage system.

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza

For the third phase in the makeover of the ground-floor common areas of the legendary Century Plaza hotel, Gensler updated the lobby, imbuing it with a taste of Hollywood glamour.

Precast Specialties Corp. works with regional architectural firms and national architectural firms like Gensler & Associates to produce custom designed precast wall panels that are available in a virtually unlimited palette of colors, textures and design elements. We never forget that architects expect us to deliver an innovative product that is a key component in making their vision a reality. Precast wall panels are an aesthetically pleasing and economical construction choice for office buildings, hotels, commercial, civic and institutional projects.

Visit Precast Specialties Corp at www.precastspecialtiescorp.com, call 781-878-7220 or email info@precastspecialtiescorp for more information about our Architectural Group.

*All photos are property of Gensler & Associates

Design Solutions With Precast Concrete


Precast Concrete
For commercial building needs, precast concrete not only offers benefits in terms of sustainability. For each unique structure, precast is an ideal building material to meet a wide range of functional and aesthetic requirements.

From the Precast Concrete Institute

Office Buildings
Design Challenge – Provide open interior spaces to create open-floor layouts and allow for rearrangement of spaces as needs change
Precast Solution – Hollow-core slab or double-tee floor and roof components have long span capabilities that eliminate columns and provide unobstructed runs for utilities in the cores of hollow-core or between double-tee stems

Design Challenge – Increase energy efficiency
Precast Solution – Thermal mass helps regulate temperatures; insulated precast concrete sandwich panels provide added energy efficiency due to insulation in the core

Design Challenge – Create secured parking beneath office levels
Precast Solution – Precast concrete structural systems can be used to create parking on lower levels, provide firerated separation, and allow flexible layout options for office space

Design Challenge – Create tall, open interiors to allow for flexible merchandising space
Precast Solution – Architectural precast concrete panels can be designed to provide high ceilings.

Design Challenge – Provide for future expansion of the facility
Precast Solution – Expansion can be accomplished by removing end panels and adding new panels onto the sides. Original mixtures and aggregates can be replicated in added panels to match the existing structure.

Stadiums and Arenas
Design Challenge – Design economical rows of seating that can withstand heavy loading
Precast Solution – Seating risers, especially economical double and triple risers, are the dominant choice for seating sections in outdoor stadiums and many indoor arenas. Shapes can vary to create needed sight lines, and vibrations can be controlled so that motion during use gives a sense of strength and security

Design Challenge – Ensure all materials can withstand year-round weather for many years with minimal maintenance required
Precast Solution – Precast concrete mixtures ensure a long life cycle with the capability to withstand use by large capacity crowd

Design Challenge – Create an aesthetic design that fits the owner’s need, whether it is a contemporary look or an old-fashioned stadium design with modern amenities
Precast Solution – Architectural precast concrete panels use colors, textures, reveals, finishes, formliners, or thinbrick insets to match any needed design style

Parking Structures
Design Challenge – Ensure high durability
Precast Solution – Concrete with low water–cement ratios and high-quality, plant-produced components projects against chloride penetration from deicing chemicals

Design Challenge – Meet the area’s seismic requirements.
Precast Solution – Precast concrete systems, using proven connection technology, allow precast concrete components to be used in all seismic zones

Mixed Use
Design Challenge – Create an upscale image while allowing each function with the building to maintain its own in design
Precast Solution – The plasticity of precast concrete components, and the variety of finishes that can be used, ensure that designs blend with any surroundings and project any needed corporate image, while also allowing for diversity

Design Challenge – Provide structural support for many small rooms above open, column-free ballrooms and conference areas
Precast Solution – Hollow-core slabs span long distances while providing structural support, minimizing columns on lower floors

Featured Architecture Firm: Anmahian Winton Architects


American Indian Center
Photo via Anmahian Winton Architects – American Indian Learning Resource Center (AILRC) will be one of the country’s leading American Indian centers at the University of Minnesota – Duluth

At Cambridge-based Anmahian Winton Architects, “architecture is an expression of culture, forged in relation to a complex set of circumstances that are at once practical and intangible…a synthesis of place, program, and community that enhances the rituals of everyday life and fosters a sense of well-being. It inspires, invigorates, and educates.” (AW Philosophy)

In addition to the belief that architecture elevates and enhances our daily lives, Anmahian Winton also maintains an exceptionally high standard for environmental stewardship with nearly all of the institutional and commercial projects being designed to achieve a LEED Gold certification, or better. As the firm explains, “Regardless of a project’s LEED goals, we are committed to designing buildings that carefully consider project impact on micro and macro ecosystems, that provide tangible operating benefits for our clients, and that create environmental benefits for our communities.” (AW Sustainable Design)

Precast Specialties Corp. would like to recognize this impressive firm whose vision combined with a focus on sustainability has led to award-winning, visually stunning projects including the Honor Award for Interior Architecture, 2012 from the American Institute of Architects and the American Architecture Award, 2011 from The Chicago Athenaeum for the Joukowsky Institute at Brown University (shown below).

Joukowsky InstitutePhoto via Anmahian Winton Architects – Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University

Featured Architecture Firm: Spagnolo Gisness & Associates


Riverbank Lofts
Riverbank Lofts, Watertown, MA

Spagnolo Gisness & Associates (SG&A) was founded by Al Spagnolo, Bill Gisness and Jeff Tompkins as a full service architectural, interior design and planning firm. With their mission, “to respond to each client’s vision through communication, collaboration, creativity and mutual trust,” SG&A provides an array of services from master plans, to feasibility and due diligence studies, to program analysis, site selection and more.

Sustainability is an important facet of the firm. SG&A believes that “as designers, we should embrace the obligation to educate our clients, and each other, in maintaining stewardship of our precious resources” which is why they explore eco-friendly strategies with clients and have teamed up with Precast Specialties Corp. on several projects including the Riverbank Lofts in Watertown, MA.

SG&A has received multiple awards for their innovative and unique designs. Recently, they won the Connecticut Climate Change Leadership Award for the ING Regional Headquarters project, the RIAGC Build Rhode Island Award for the GTECH Center and BOMA Boston’s “The Office Building of the Year” for One Brigham Circle.

Precast Specialties Corp. recognizes Spagnolgo Gisness & Associates for their creativity, dedication to their clients and commitment to sustainability and as an invaluable partner for future projects.

Sustainability: A Building Block of Precast Specialties Corp.


Sustainable Precast

Sustainable is a word and a concept that John D’Amelio, President of Precast Specialties Corp., wants you to think of when you think about precast concrete as a building material. Precast concrete is a sustainable building material and an excellent green building material choice because it is energy efficient, durable and eco-friendly. Because of the versatile application of precast concrete, the use of precast can contribute to the LEED points of a final project. Precast Specialties Corp. thanks all of the builders and contractors we’ve had the opportunity to work with who share our focus on sustainability and look forward to working on even more local and sustainable projects in the future for New England’s built environment. Stay tuned for more information about precast’s sustainable properties.

Precast: The Smart Building Material


Benefits of Precast Concrete
Aside from its sustainable benefits and contribution to LEED points for an overall project, there are numerous other practical reasons to select precast concrete for your building needs.

Low maintenance – Precast concrete is one of the most durable façade materials available. The panels’ resistance to staining (due to lack of moisture penetration), ease of joint inspection and extensive time allowed between required caulking (15 to 20 years) makes precast easy to maintain for decades.

Resistant to mold – As with the resistance to staining, precast’s lack of moisture penetration also means the concrete does not aid in the growth of mold spores. When designing with precast, Precast Specialties Corp. works closely with designers to create any additional water control systems to ensure rainwater is directed away from the building effectively to eliminate all residual moisture.

Ease of expansion – By using precast concrete systems, building expansion can be easily accomplished by either adding new adjoining spaces or merging a new space with the existing structure. If the existing space was created with panels, it may be possible to disconnect the non-loadbearing panels on the end of the wall and simply adding new panels and framing on each side to create a larger space. Furthermore, at Precast Specialties Corp., our range of finishes and surface textures means an unlimited array of options for the addition, easily able to reflect the original aesthetic look from the existing structure.

Financial savings - Precast concrete’s speed of construction can eliminate months from a construction schedule resulting in huge cost savings. By combining architectural and structural components into one product when possible, other project features can be minimized (ex. a smaller amount of footing may be required due to the thin cross-section of a precast concrete wall compared to a masonry design).

At Precast Specialties Corp., we partner with our customers to reduce their job costs and to help make their project run more smoothly. Simply put, we are committed to providing a superior quality architectural precast product and the highest level of customer service in the industry. Contact us today at 781-878-7220 to discuss what precast concrete can do for your next project.

Precast Specialties Corp. Applauds Eco-Friendly Initiatives in Massachusetts


Sustainable Solar Field Efforts on Martha's Vineyard
Precast Specialties Corp. wants to recognize both American Capital Energy and Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative for their recent agreement to reuse ten capped landfills for the production of solar energy. Projected to power 3,132 Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard homes, the solar field is expected to produce around 22,500 MWh every year.

The federal government has estimated that there are close to 425,000 industrial or contaminated sites known as “brownfields” throughout the United States. The EPA and various other alternative energy companies are actively working to transform these deserted landfills into solar energy producing areas.

As a member of the NPCA (National Precast Concrete Association), APA (Architectural Precast Association) certified Precast Specialties Corp. President John D’Amelio is a strong believer in sustainability. PSC ensures that each piece of precast concrete manufactured meets the current need of any customer and also offers eco-friendly features that provide for the future.

Precast Specialties Corp.maintains its sustainable focus through efficient service and production of products that are both durable and good for the environment. Although a small step in the alternative energy movement, Precast Specialties Corp. alongside American Capital Energy and Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative are continually striving to create and improve the future of New England’s built environment.

Quality Products with a Focus on Eco-Friendly Innovation


LEED Points with Precast Concrete from Precast Specialties Corp

One of the most important concepts that Precast Specialties Corp. continually strives for is sustainability. Sustainable products are those that are environmentally responsible, economically profitable, and socially aware. Precast concrete offers a variety of eco-friendly advantages when used in construction projects.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. For companies, using precast concrete can help them earn LEED credit in terms of site development.

- By choosing precast for structural elements like walls or flooring, companies earn LEED points because of the reusability of the precast

- LEED points are given for using recycled materials, and precast concrete is partially composed of recycled materials such as fly ash and recycled steel

- Serving a local market, Northeast companies using Precast Specialties Corp. earn credits for choosing locally harvested raw materials

- Precast concrete can save building owners up to 25% on heating and/or cooling costs for the entire life cycle of the concrete

- Precast concrete can also help reduce heat islands, places like industrial sites that retain consistently higher temperatures than surrounding areas

In the building environment, in addition to being sustainable, Precast focuses on making products that meet both the needs of the present as well as the future. With quality products and a focus on eco-friendly innovation, Precast Specialties Corp. offers the best of both worlds for our precast customers.