Sustainability ENews Vol 10 #13 Sustainable Masonry

The Masonry Society



Sustainability E-News

Sustainable Masonry



July 15, 2018                                    

Volume 10, Number 13





From the Editor

Over the summer I try to catch up on my reading. I recently read STRUCTURE magazine's May edition. It is filled with great articles on masonry, including the one on high SCM grouts featured below. High SCM grouts contain large volumes of supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) used in lieu of portland cement. They can have a significant impact in lowering the carbon footprint of grouted masonry, especially in areas that require fully-grouted walls. It is just one of the research projects that aim to further improve the sustainability of masonry. Another story featured in the same edition of that magazine discusses research demonstrating the resilience of masonry construction in high wind areas.


Christine "Tina" Subasic, PE, LEED AP


NOTE: Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of the products and materials featured, nor have these products been evaluated by TMS or the editor. Furthermore, the views expressed in the articles featured are those of the article authors.



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Philadelphia has become one of the first jurisdictions to adopt the 2018 International Building Code (IBC). The 2018 requires more energy efficient construction than the previous version. ~Tina


Philadelphia's New Building Code Includes Provisions for Energy Efficiency, Carbon Emissions

The city of Philadelphia has officially adopted a new building code, the 2018 International Building Code (IBC), in an effort to modernize construction, increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. The new code also includes energy-efficiency standards, said Christine Knapp, director of the city's Office of Sustainability, in this piece. She said this is to help the city achieve its goal of 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. 


New Frontiers for Resilience Planning

Heather Rosenberg, founder of the Building Resilience Network, shares her experience with resilience planning strategies. Read the article





Holcim Commits to Environmentally Sound Cement Production


Holcim Philippines' Sustainability Plan 2030 aims to curb carbon emissions and freshwater consumption in cement production. The goal is to increase its environmental commitment by trimming emissions 40% from 1990 levels and 30% from 2015 levels according to this article.


High-Volume SCM Grouts for Masonry


Masonry has a long performance history as a durable, economical, and attractive building system. With the push toward sustainability, materials such as fly ash are increasingly finding their way into masonry materials, especially by reformulating grout mixtures to include both portland cement and fly ash. Targeted research was undertaken to learn whether mixtures containing high volumes of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) could still produce the required strength for grout. Read about the results here.


The Hottest Environmental Trend is Sustainable Business Practices


In a dramatic shift, the fastest growing environmental issue in 2018 is sustainable business practices according to this blog. At a time when many issues are politically charged, including environmental matters, a major shift in public opinion is happening. There are dramatic changes ongoing as a consequence of the last Presidential election that will result in less and different federal government regulation and enforcement of environmental matters. 




The links below highlight how both old and new masonry construction can be sustainable. ~Tina


Award-Winning School Gains Modernity with Sustainability


The original Saint Albert the Great School in Reno, NV was built in the 1960's using concrete masonry units. A newly built addition utilized concrete masonry construction to match more closely the hue of the exterior split-faced material. Since there was only two months allotted for construction, a local plant was used due to its close range to the site. Materials used, such as steel and concrete, were only 500 miles from the construction site. This new addition blends in aesthetically with the rest of the campus. Read more.


Case Study: Better With Age


A good example of making something old new again is the energy-efficiency renovation of a pre-Civil War-era building at an Indiana college. The energy-efficiency techniques designers used have made it "super-efficient" and useful for another 150 years. Read more here.




The deadline for submitting abstracts for the 13th North American Masonry Conference is rapidly approaching! Act now and submit yours at the link below. ~Tina


Call for Abstracts: 13th North American Masonry Conference

The 13th North American Masonry Conference will be held June 16-19, 2019, at the Marriott City Center Hotel in Salt Lake City, UT. The Conference is hosted by Brigham Young University and is the latest in the series of quadrennial conferences sponsored by The Masonry Society. The conference seeks to provide a forum to professionals from around the world for networking and sharing the latest advances in masonry knowledge and practice. More than 150 papers from more than 20 countries are anticipated to be presented at the conference and included in the final proceedings. Authors are invited to submit abstracts describing proposed papers no later than July 31, 2018. Instructions and requirements for abstract and manuscript submissions are available at



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