Skip to main content

Sustainable practices

Home > About > Sustainable Practices

Sustainable Practices

At Cemstone, we are committed to responsible environmental stewardship, protection of biodiversity and giving back to the communities in which we live and work. 

Through our high performance, environmentally friendly mixes and our on-staff geologists, environmentalists, and LEED accredited professionals, we continue to contribute to the building of projects that are environmentally responsible, cost-effective, and healthy places to live and work.  

Cemstone aims to lead in sustainable construction by constantly striving to find new ways to develop and use sustainable and energy efficient materials. Our on-staff engineers and environmental professionals work to develop more efficient and sustainable products and processes that meet customer needs for more sustainable building materials.  

We work with builders, architects, engineers, and contractors to take advantage of the many opportunities that concrete can contribute to earning LEED accreditation. 

National Awards for Environmental Excellence  

Cemstone has been regularly recognized for its commitment to Environmental Excellence by the National Ready Mix Concrete Association (NRMCA). Cemstone has been recognized by the NRMCA 8 times since 2012, including each year since 2015. Of the 8 plants to be recognized, Cemstone has had 5 plants selected as regional winners of the Environmental Excellence Awards program including its Northfield plant in 2021. 

  1. 2022 – Hastings, MN, 1st Place 
  2. 2021 – Northfield, MN, 1st Place 
  3. 2020 – Fairmont, 2nd Place 
  4. 2019 – Arlington, 3rd Place 
  5. 2018 – Minneapolis, 1st Place 
  6. 2017 – Rosemount-UMORE, 1st Place 
  7. 2016 – Mankato, 1st Place 
  8. 2015 – Columbus, 1st Place 
  9. 2012 – Brainerd, 2nd Place 

Sustainable Facilities 

Cemstone strives to develop environmentally-sound sites that take advantage of the latest sustainable and energy-efficiency technologies. Because of this, our facilities can reduce energy usage and our carbon footprint.

LED Lighting 

Cemstone has partnered with local electricians and power companies to retrofit our facilities with energy-efficient LED lighting.

Solar Power

We have invested in solar power – both through subscriptions to solar gardens and installation of solar panels on our buildings. Cemstone continues to look at additional ways to implement and embrace alternative energy sources. 

Electric vehicle charging stations

Cemstone recently installed electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its corporate headquarters. Plans are in place to expand EV charging infrastructure to other facilities. 

Energy Audits  

Cemstone partners with local energy companies to administer extensive energy audits of its facilities to identify ways to conserve resources and cut costs. 

Sustainable Operations  

Cemstone works to minimize our environmental impact through implementation of sustainable operating practices at its ready-mix concrete and aggregate production facilities. 

Bio-diesel Diesel Exhaust Fluid systems on ready mix trucks

Improved emissions performance in today’s diesel vehicles are the result of sophisticated engine controls and exhaust aftertreatment devices.
All engines must meet the same tailpipe emissions standards, regardless of fuel type, as defined by the EPA.

Mine Site Reclamation

Long-range future planning for Cemstone’s sand & gravel operations is crucial to ensure good returns on the property as well as promote stable environments with native vegetation.  

Wildlife Habitat

Cemstone has partnered with the Minnesota DNR to create wildlife habitat through the mining reclamation process in Farmington, MN. Cemstone’s site sits in the Vermillion Highlands regional recreation area, a popular recreation and public hunting complex in Dakota County. As we close out mining, the area is reclaimed to include rolling hills and water bodies to enhance the habitat for area wildlife. 

Dust Collection

Dust and particulate matter (PM) are common sources of pollution in the concrete manufacturing industry. All Cemstone’s plants are equipped with dust collection on all powder silos, and many plants also have dust collection on the loadout points. Cemstone also uses sweepers to clean paved surfaces to minimize dust emissions from vehicle traffic.    

Repurposing Used Oil  

Cemstone collects the oil from vehicle maintenance, and then uses that as fuel to heat our shops. We have been installing used oil heaters in our shops to provide a way to beneficially reuse the oil instead of hauling it away to disposal sites.   

Minneapolis Sound Wall Ready-Mix

Noise Control 

Cemstone makes every effort to minimize and eliminate noise from our facilities. This includes installing rubber screens at our aggregate facilities to dampen sound from the aggregate hitting the screens and installation of berms and noise walls at our facilities to minimize the sound leaving our sites. We also adhere to hours of operation that minimize early morning and nighttime noise.    

Jobsite Water   

Most of Cemstone’s trucks are equipped with a self-contained washout system. This system allows the gray water to be pumped back into and contained in the drum of the truck and brought back to the plant while also screening out the aggregate material.  

Ready-Mix Plant Water Reuse

You need water to make concrete work.  Nobody says it must be fresh water, and that is exactly our approach.  As the industry’s #1 environmental concern, Cemstone is committed to find innovative practices for the treatment and re-use of process water. Cemstone has developed and constructed our Weir Systems at several of our batch plant facilities. The weir systems allow us to eliminate the solids and provide clarified water. This clarified water is then reused to wash out our truck drums and for use in production of fresh concrete. Cemstone can recycle and reuse millions of gallons of water annually, reducing the burden on municipal water supplies and local aquifers.  

Cemstone became the first producer in the State of Minnesota to get recycled, clarified water certified by the Minnesota Department of Transportation for use in certified mixes. This allows us to recycle even more water into the batching of fresh concrete. 

Aggregate Closed Loop Systems 

Our aggregate processing facilities use closed loop settling pond systems to supply the water for washing and classifying of aggregates. These systems collect the excess water from processing and circulate it back through the pond system to be used again. The use of the closed-loop system reduces our operations’ needs for fresh water. 

Recycled Concrete  

Inevitably our ready-mix trucks return to the manufacturing facility with leftover concrete.  The good news is that instead of being discarded, this material is converted into useful products, such as recycled base material and bunker blocks.  In addition to the returned concrete, Cemstone’s aggregate facilities are collection sites for concrete demolition.  These materials are crushed and processed such that they can be used on everything from roadway reconstruction to home foundations. We can even use crushed concrete in the manufacture of fresh concrete.