How Ozinga’s CarbonCure-treated concrete was leveraged in McDonald’s Chicago flagship restaurant

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The new McDonald’s flagship store in Chicago’s River North neighborhood is unlike any McDonalds’ restaurant you’ve ever seen. Designed by the iconic Ross Barney Architects firm, this beautiful structure of glass and steel has more in common with an Apple store than your run-of-the-mill restaurant.

Aside from its striking appearance, this McDonald’s location is also unique because of the innovative practices utilized during its design and construction. Early on, McDonald’s put an emphasis on creating a space that was sustainable and used environmentally-friendly construction techniques, hoping to apply for a LEED Platinum certification, a designation given only to the most sustainable projects.

“McDonald’s was very dedicated to the idea of sustainability,” said Carol Ross Barney, the founder and design principal at Ross Barney. “We were really intrigued by that idea.”

One of the key ways this goal was achieved was through the use of Ozinga’s CarbonCure-treated concrete, a sustainable solution the Chicago-based concrete, materials, and logistics company has been utilizing on some of its projects for over three years.

“CarbonCure is a unique technology where we are able to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from carbon-emitting plants,” said Paul Ozinga, executive vice president of the company. “We get that CO2 delivered to our plant, refined, and then we’re able to introduce it back into the concrete.”

Ozinga gets its CO2 from a fertilizer plant in Wisconsin and reuses those emissions in its concrete mixes to great effect. Using CarbonCure during the concrete mix process has numerous benefits. First off, it strengthens the overall concrete mix, decreasing the amount of cement that is needed to achieve the necessary strength. This effectively decreases the amount of CO2 naturally emitted during the production of cement and concrete. CarbonCure also offers a 5-8% cement reduction per yard.

This technology is something Ozinga has been utilizing on many of its jobs for over three years. CarbonCure was a natural fit for the company, which is always on the lookout for innovative techniques and environmentally-friendly solutions for concrete production.

“We’ve always been interested in new ideas, improving the product we sell, and also being a steward for the environment we are in,” Ozinga said. “We realize there are limited resources and that costs are going up.”

We’ve always been interested in new ideas, improving the product we sell, and also being a steward for the environment we are in. We realize there are limited resources and that costs are going up.

On the McDonald’s project, Ross Barney says Ozinga’s CarbonCure treated concrete mixes were used on the building’s foundations and flat work, to great effect.

“I really have to give Ozinga credit, they’re always looking for the most current technologies in concrete,” she said. “It was Ozinga that came to us about this. They were really excited about using CarbonCure.”

Moving forward, Ozinga plans to steadily increase the number of jobs they use CarbonCure concrete on. The company is trying to introduce the technology--and the concrete product it yields-- to many of their collaborators, and increase awareness.

“Everyday we do a little bit more,” said Ozinga. “It is our hope that we can use it in all our concrete we use every day as the market gains more acceptance of it.”