An effort to lower the carbon footprint of construction at Meta’s planned data center in DeKalb, Ill., involved Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete building low-carbon metrics of mix designs generated from an artificial intelligence model that Meta and university researchers developed around sustainability characteristics and compressive strength criteria. The optimized concrete surpassed 7- and 28-day strength requirements and possessed a carbon impact 40% below the regional benchmark for slab mix designs.



The spotlight on buildings’ life cycle carbon dioxide emissions is driving recognition of Environmental Product Declaration-defined Product, Construction Process, Use and End-of-Life Stage benchmarks.

After methodically lowering the Use Stage CO2 factor for its 14 operational, energy-intensive data centers in North America, Silicon Valley tech giant and Facebook operator Meta Platforms Inc. is zeroing in on Product Stage carbon.

“We are turning attention to our ambitious goal to achieve net zero emissions across our value chain by the end of 2030,” according to Meta Research Scientist Julius Kusuma.

“This commitment includes addressing the indirect environmental impacts of our business, such as from the embodied carbon found in our buildings. Embodied carbon includes the upstream and downstream emissions from the manufacturing, transportation, maintenance, replacement, and decommissioning of building materials.”

“We start by analyzing life cycle impact in data center construction,” adds Meta Sustainability Program Manager Amruta Sudhalkar, who teamed with Kusuma to co-author “Green concrete: Using Artificial.

Intelligence (AI) to reduce concrete’s carbon footprint,” an April 2022 dispatch. “Concrete bubbles to the top as one of the main sources of carbon emissions. To address emissions intensity, we look at how much concrete a project requires and for what application, along with technical performance requirements, and consider a workable low-carbon model.”



The company’s biggest test of AI-informed carbon reduction in concrete specifications has entailed work on two non-critical structures—

the construction personnel office space and guardhouse—at its DeKalb, Ill. data center. The principal sustainability performance focus is the mixes’ global warming potential (GWP), an EPD Product Stage metric expressed as CO2e kg/m3 (e = equivalent).

Instead of merely reviewing GWP levels from candidate mix designs submitted by Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete, the Meta Physical Modeling, Data Center Design, Engineering, & Construction, and Sustainability teams are working with data science colleagues to usher AI and machine learning (ML) concepts into concrete design and project procurement.