Sustainability ENews Vol 12#14 Tools Better Buildings

Sustainability E-News
Green Tools for Better Buildings
July 31, 2020
Volume 12, Number 14
From The Editor
From green building rating programs to life cycle assessment/impact tools, there are several means to assess and improve building and building product sustainability performance. This edition include articles on ways rating programs are providing guidance in response to COVID-19 for constructed spaces, as well as news on the lesser-known U.S. Resiliency Council's rating program and new tools from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
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.
The first article below points out some of the disadvantages of building vertically. Excessive glazing, common on such buildings, is one reason they are often far from energy efficient as compared with other structures. ~Tina
Wasteful, damaging and outmoded: Is it time to stop building skyscrapers?
If no one ever built a skyscraper ever again, anywhere, who would truly miss them? The engineer Tim Snelson, of the design consultancy Arup, has just blown a hole in any claim super-tall buildings might have had to be environmentally sustainable. Writing in this month’s issue of the architecture magazine Domus, he points out that a typical skyscraper will have at least double the carbon footprint of a 10-story building of the same floor area. Read more.
Northwest concrete masonry buildings receive USRC Silver rating
Two buildings in the northwest recently achieved the Silver Rating from the US Resiliency Council (USRC). The USRC Building Rating System describes the expected impacts of an earthquake or other natural disaster on buildings. The Silver Rating indicates achievement of key performance targets such as limited building damage and a shortened operational recovery time. The first project, the Parkrose Middle School, is an excellent example of an all-masonry cavity wall system with concrete masonry structural walls and a brick veneer. The second project, Central Spokane YMCA/YWCA is a load-bearing concrete masonry building. These achievements were announced by the Northwest Concrete Masonry Association. Read the press release here. 
As more workplaces continue in 'virtual mode', we can expect evolution on recommendations for post-COVID operations. ~Tina
Leveraging LEED for New Construction Post-COVID
The intent of each LEED credit category takes on a particular meaning, both locally and globally, in response to the emergence of such factors as global climate change and its associated consequences - including pandemics. In the post-COVID context, these intents will take on new meaning and new urgency. This blog explores different LEED categories, and how their benefits go beyond climate and sustainability, into creating a safer, healthier, post-pandemic world.
Sustainability guidelines updated for pandemic
ENGINEERING NEWS-RECORD (tiered subscription model)
With the coronavirus pandemic in mind, Green Business Certification has issued new pilot credits. The credits for the SITES and TRUE sustainability rating systems account for currently known coronavirus factors and will be updated as more information becomes available. Read more.
EPA's new tools can assist with LEED Materials and Resources credits
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just launched the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Prioritization Tools, which help identify potential hotspots for environmental improvement in the life cycle of goods and services. The tools provide a starting place when developing sustainability initiatives and can also help identify key industries for collaboration. The SMM Prioritization Tools include the National Tool and the Organizational Tool. The National Tool provides a big-picture, life cycle perspective of sustainability in the United States. The Organizational Tool guides companies and small enterprises through a life cycle assessment of sustainability issues and resource use in their sector. Read more.

As concrete mixes form the basis for many masonry products, advances in concrete research can affect masonry designs as well. ~Tina
UCLA team gets $2M to advance low-carbon concrete
The Energy Department has awarded a two-year, $2 million grant to UCLA researchers to improve technology that can up-cycle carbon dioxide emissions and coal combustion residuals into low-carbon concrete. The researchers say their product offers a 50% to 70% lower carbon footprint than traditional concrete. Learn more.
LafargeHolcim unveils program using EPDs
LafargeHolcim is collaborating with the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute and Climate Earth to adopt a program that increases transparency around its carbon footprint through the use of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). EPDs evaluate the Global Warming Potential and other impacts of construction materials, including cement and concrete. Read more here.
14th Canadian Masonry Symposium website live
Planning is underway for the 14th Canadian Masonry Symposium (CMS). The Symposium will be May 16-19, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The CMS is Canada’s eminent gathering for masonry related technical topics and fields of inquiry and attracts national and international experts on the design, construction, behavior and performance of all things masonry. Abstracts are due from authors by October 5, 2020. More information can be found on their newly launched website
2022 Masonry Symposium: Advancing Masonry Technology
Papers are invited for the 2022 Masonry Symposium to be held on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Seattle, Seattle, WA. The Symposium is co-sponsored by ASTM Committees C01 on Cement, C07 on Lime, C12 on Mortars and Grouts for Unit Masonry (Lead Committee), and C15 on Manufactured Masonry Units. The objective of the symposium is to gather and disseminate the latest information on all aspects of the innovations in masonry materials, design, specification, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation. For more information, click here.
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