Sustainability ENews Vol10 #11 Carbon in the News

The Masonry Society



Sustainability E-News

Carbon in the News



June 15, 2018                                    

Volume 10, Number 11





From the Editor

Regardless of your views of the causes, there is no denying there is more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere today than in the last 100+ years. How to deal with that is a topic of much discussion with no clear answer. However many approaches are being tried, including using carbon dioxide in building products, emitting less carbon dioxide, and most recently, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The articles linked below highlight these strategies.


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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The Green Globes rating system is based on a standard developed by the Green Building Initiative. Their next web meeting of the consensus body is rapidly approaching. They are open to the public. See the link below for more information. ~Tina


Green Building Initiative Consensus Meeting

The Green Building Initiative will hold its next Consensus Body meeting via webinar on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM ET. The meeting notice and tentative agenda for the 36th Consensus Body meeting can be found online: The Green Building Initiative Consensus Body is updating the standard on which the Green Globes rating system is based.


New Building Energy Performance Standard Takes Shape


No standards currently guide the conduct of existing building energy performance assessments associated with the sale of property and groups that take on this task differ in their approaches. A recently formed task force in the ASTM International committee on environmental assessment, risk management, and corrective action (E50) is beginning to change that. The new task force plans to develop a standard for assessing existing building energy performance. Read more.


C40 Framework Helps US Cities Combat Climate Change

US cities have started to set their own climate change initiatives, and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group has created a framework to help them share resources, tools and information. According to this article, it requires city leaders to identify stakeholders who can help support climate action plans and includes a 2050 target as well as interim goals.


The Case for Carbon Removal


Last year, for the first time in human history, atmospheric carbon dioxide surpassed 400 parts per million (PPM). This is well above the 350 PPM that consensus science agrees is needed to maintain a stable climate. Eliminating new emissions is no longer sufficient-we need to also consider carbon removal techniques. Read more about negative-emissions and how these new technologies are advancing and the future of the carbon capture industry in New York City here




Among the options for carbon removal techniques, several researchers are exploring using carbon dioxide in building products. The article below highlights the work on a new concrete masonry unit made from steel slag. ~Tina


Company Pioneers Carbon Negative Concrete


Cement production is one of the leading sources of carbon dioxide emissions globally. A Montreal-based startup has developed a method of making concrete without cement. The process developed by Carbicrete uses steel slag, a byproduct of steel production, to replace cement. The curing process uses carbon dioxide and pressure to convert the steel slag to calcium carbonate and harden the concrete. The company is one of 10 finalists for the Carbon XPRIZE. Read more


Study: Timber is Oregon's Biggest Carbon Polluter


A study from Oregon State University has found that logging and wood products are the biggest source of carbon dioxide in Oregon. The wood products sector generated about 1.5 times more CO2 emissions than the transportation and energy sectors. Wood product emissions are the result of fuel burned by logging equipment, the hauling of timber, milling, wood burned during forestry activities, and the ongoing decomposition of trees after they are cut. OSU researcher Beverly Law states "..we think we've been giving wood too much credit' as a green building material, according to this article.




Find the Sweet Spot for Your Sustainability Initiatives

It's important not to become paralyzed by the data you gather while researching sustainability initiatives, as even the smallest changes can add up to a large, positive impact over time, Nikki Pava writes in this article. At the same time, don't commit your company to ambitious goals that you aren't likely to be able to attain, she says 




We don't often include links to webinars but since I often have questions about Health Product Declarations (HPDs), we decided to include a link for a webinar on them below. ~Tina


Free HPD Webinar


"The Empowered Design Professional" is a 1-hour introductory course that covers the basics of material health, transparency, HPDs and documenting the LEED v4 Material Ingredient Disclosure and Optimization credits. The web-based course is available at no-charge and provides CEU credits with AIA, GBCI and IDCEC programs. Take the course.


2018 Masonry Symposium


The Masonry 2018 Symposium will be held on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina in San Diego, CA. The objective of Masonry 2018 Symposium is to gather and disseminate the latest information on all aspects of the innovations in masonry materials, design, specification, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation. It will emphasize the application of ASTM standards to those areas, and their coordination with building codes, project specifications, and international standards.  For more information, click here


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