Sustainability ENews Vol 11 #16 Finding Product Disclosures

The Masonry Society



Sustainability E-News

Finding Product Disclosures

August 31, 2019


Volume 11, Number 16



From The Editor

Finding information on building products can be daunting at times. Whether that's test reports, specifications, or information on sustainable attributes. There are a number of websites that provide links to product information. The site linked in GREEN PRODUCT NEWS at the end of this newsletter is just one of the latest that purports to contain a comprehensive list of all green product certifications. How do you find the information you need on sustainable attributes of products? What sties do you find most useful? Share your favorites, and I'll include the list in future editions of this newsletter.

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.



Net zero energy can mean different things to different people, but one thing that everyone agrees on is the need to reduce demand first (energy use of a building) and then tackle supply ( i.e. PV panels). There are many ways to reduce demand as noted in the article below, and also in the first one linked under CODES and STANDARDS NEWS. ~Tina


Five steps to get started with net zero energy buildings 


Net zero buildings are becoming increasingly popular. Many locations in the U.S. have committed to net zero construction by 2030-2050. Washington, DC and Massachusetts are projected to adopt a net zero code within the decade. San Francisco did so last year and will roll out in 2020. Renewable energy is one component to achieving net zero energy, but alone, it is often not an effective strategy. So, what does it take to design and construct net zero buildings? Read more.


NIST grants to fund resilience research


The Department of Commerce, through NIST, has announced grants for research into how earthquakes, wind and fire affect the built environment, targeting results that inform building designs, codes and standards. One of 12 projects addresses combustible-material performance in the face of hazard exposure; three others focus on concrete or masonry structural behavior following seismic events. To read more, click here.  


UCLA researchers secure NSF grant to develop 3D-printed concrete


The National Science Foundation has granted $1.5 million to researchers at UCLA to develop 3D-printed concrete that uses carbon dioxide as part of a binder and could have a 60% lower carbon footprint than current products. The research will focus on maximizing the CO2 used in the process, controlling cement flow and using machine learning to discover new structures. Read more.



The first article below is an interesting discussion of how one city is trying to achieve sustainable buildings. ~Tina


How a building code could help buildings achieve zero carbon


A proposed energy code for the Town of Ithaca and the City of Ithaca, N.Y., is written to keep construction costs the same while measurably reducing energy use and carbon emissions in new buildings. Read more.


Living Building Challenge for affordable housing

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has announced the launch of its new Living Building Challenge Framework for Affordable Housing. This second edition has been fully revised and expanded to include updated findings, inspiring and detailed case studies, and new strategies and approaches to financing, designing, building, and operating Living Affordable Housing. Now more than ever, our society needs inspiring examples and practical guidance for creating healthy, sustainable, and affordable housing for all. 


The International Living Future Institute has also recently releasedLiving Building Challenge 4.0, revised to streamline processes and update the certification's requirements. 


Could a LEED-like system work for resilient construction?


Rating systems such as LEED have spurred demand for green buildings, and it would behoove the construction industry "to create a similar kind of demand for resilient construction," says Jeremy Gregory, executive director of the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub. There are already a number of systems in place that rate resilience, but the industry should strive toward rating systems with more quantitative estimates, he says in this article


The updated Transparency Catalog (first article below) is a slick tool that can make finding the transparency reports for building products a breeze. ~Tina


New tool for finding products with HPDs and EPDs


Sustainable Minds’ has announced their updated Transparency Catalog v2.1. Architecture, engineering, construction professionals and owners can now find all manufacturers and their published reports in one place. This continually updated resource includes every building product manufacturer in North America creating disclosures in every material ingredient disclosure program (HPD, Declare, C2C, Level and more) and every program operator in North America with over 2,190 EPDs, searchable by 21 MasterFormat divisions.


Cyprus project focuses on eco-friendly masonry


A consortium based in Cyprus is developing an environmentally-friendly earth masonry system composed of compressed earth blocks, or CEBs, that are made with locally sourced materials. The findings from the EarthMasonry project will be used to create a technical guide on CEBs for the building industry. Read more here.


7 tips for responsible life cycle assessment (LCA) practice


Thinkstep's Director of Content, Dr. Martin Baitz, outlines seven critical LCA tips that will help you avoid costly mistakes in your life cycle assessment practice.


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