Sustainability ENews Vol 12#5 See the Full Picture

Sustainability E-News
Seeing the Full Picture
March 15, 2020
Volume 12, Number 5
From The Editor
I've often said there's no "Holy Grail" in talking about sustainability. There are always trade-offs involved, and true sustainability is really an ideal. Two articles linked below are a testament to that. The first is the second part of a two-part article about the amount and type of insulation to use in a building envelope. The second discusses the use of recycled content in building products (in this case using recycled concrete). Both are important reminders for designers and specifiers to consider the full picture when selecting building products: life cycle assessment across the full spectrum of environmental, economical, and social concerns.
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.
Choosing insulation for carbon value – Why more is not always better (Part 2)
Part 1 of this blog post highlighted two of the most commonly used insulations in the U.S.– XPS board and closed-cell polyurethane spray foam – and noted that they are produced with blowing agents (HFC-based) that are putting more carbon into the air during construction than they save during building operation for many decades. So the question is, if we don’t use these insulations, how can we make up for the loss of the helpful qualities that has made us dependent on them? One part of the answer comes from the development of new materials. Read more here.
How Low Can We Go? Historic preservation and carbon reduction
This recording of AIA of New York’s Center for Architecture educational session features practical information on updating historic masonry buildings for energy efficiency, including an introduction to OSCAR, the Online Sustainable Conservation Assistance Resource. OSCAR provides information including case studies on sustainable restorations.
Permeability and performance in water-resistive barriers
This article reviews the basics of water-resistive barriers (WRB) and makes recommendations for identifying the proper choice for applications. 
The New Sustainability: Why everything we do matters
When the green building movement first came into the limelight decades ago, the focus for materials was primarily on recycled content and renewable resources. But today the sustainability of products has evolved based on changes in green building programs and also based on the quality of information and documentation now available. Project teams are now looking at the sustainability of the entire process of how a product gets to the market. To learn more about the current picture of sustainable building and how natural stone fits in, read this interview with Jason F. McLennan, founder of the International Living Future Institute.
Resilient design case study
ASHRAE’s Winter 2020 edition of High Performing Buildings Magazine includes a feature on resilient design. The Florida community of Alys Beach has adopted resilient design standards for its infrastructure, buildings and ancillary structures. Features include flooding prevention and cool roofs and walls, and structures that can withstand winds and rain up to 150 miles per hour.
This newsletter has featured many articles on the benefits of implementing up-to-date model codes. The article below discusses the latest model energy code. ~Tina
Code, standard help builders maximize sustainability
The 2021 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is expected to give commercial and residential builders additional flexibility to make projects energy-efficient based on design, building type and location. The International Organization for Standardization also has developed a standard to help architects, engineers and other stakeholders optimize the sustainability of a building throughout its life cycle. Read more.

Evaluating building products is challenging, especially when there are so many factors that should be considered. Oftentimes specifiers and designers focus only on one or two attributes of a product. As the articles below note, there is much more to be considered. ~Tina
Does it make sense to recycle aggregates?
Reusing aggregates for new concrete structures is not a closed cycle for recycling the material, Eduardo Souza writes in this article. Studies have shown that using recycled aggregates "might save abiotic raw materials, but can increase energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions if, due to a higher void content, more cement is used to manufacture the concrete." 
Manufacturers use Cradle to Cradle principles to achieve a circular economy
In an ideal world, every enterprise would form part of a circular economy: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems. Read how some companies are tackling this issue.
Cemex UK introduces new low-carbon product
Cemex UK has introduced a ready-mixed concrete product range that features a new geopolymer cement to reduce CO2 emissions by 70%. Cemex says it is the first carbon-neutral, ready-mixed concrete product in the UK. Read more.
It's not too late! Register now for these upcoming events! Hope to see you there. ~Tina
Upstate Masonry Institute Masonry Master Class
The Upstate (NY) Masonry Institute invites you to this one of a kind event in the Capital Region! The program will offer continuing education to build better buildings using masonry. This Masonry Master Class is open to anyone interested in learning how masonry can contribute to a safe, sustainable and cost effective building design. Topics include sustainable design and masonryenergy efficient masonry designs, and cost study of multi-residential construction. Click here for more information.
Webinar: What’s New in LEED v4.1
The latest version of LEED, LEED v4.1, was released in early 2019 proved a challenge to many designers and manufacturers. The Materials and Resources credits were particularly problematic. This new webinar explains how LEED v4.1 attempts to address these issues by adding incremental achievement levels and revising the thresholds and criteria in many of the credits. To register for this April 9, 2020 webinar, click here.
Register Now for The Masonry Society Spring Meetings
Registration is now open for the TMS Spring Meetings to be held in Charlotte, NC April 30 - May 2, 2020. For more information on the upcoming meeting and TMS Committee activities visit the TMS website.
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