Sustainability ENews Vol10 #14 Green Bldg Stats

The Masonry Society



Sustainability E-News

Green Building Statistics



July 31, 2018                                    

Volume 10, Number 14





From the Editor

I recently read a blog of someone in the green building industry. He noted how because he regularly interacts with others knowledgeable about sustainability, resilience and the like, he can have the impression that green building has become status quo and everyone is doing it, but the reality is often far different. I've certainly experienced that as someone who works almost exclusively in areas related to green building and sustainable design. However, while green building certainly is growing, it is still far from the norm. Two of the links below highlight how we have, or have not, come, depending upon your perspective. The first notes that there are now 482 verified zero-energy buildings in the U.S. today. The second, the LEED certification update, lists only 29 U.S. projects as being certified to LEED v4 in the 2nd quarter of 2018. What is your perspective? Is green building becoming the norm, or do we have a long way to go? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.


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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Driving change in the way we design and build buildings is the goal of the two tools featured below. One aims to reduce a building's carbon footprint by simplifying the calculation process. The other proposes a new way of assessing structural resilience. ~Tina


Zero Energy Goals in Action

Four-hundred eighty-two. That's how many zero-energy public and commercial buildings are verified or in progress in the U.S. today, per the New Buildings Institute. "Zero energy buildings", according to the U.S. Department of Energy, "combine energy efficiency and renewable energy generation to consume only as much energy as can be produced onsite through renewable resources over a specified time period." Read more.


New Tool to Estimate a Building's Carbon Footprint


Researchers at the University of Seville in Spain are developing a computing tool that can calculate carbon dioxide emissions in each phase of a building project. Calculating the carbon footprint digitally from start to finish could help reduce emissions in a cost-saving fashion. Among their findings: the use and maintenance phase of a building is generally responsible for 80-90% of the CO2 emissions generated during a building's life cycle, almost 60% of which is caused by the energy demand for heating and air-conditioning. An operational phase of more than 50 years duration reduces emissions, and this should be a primary goal. Read more here.


LEED Certification Update

USGBC has published their LEED certification update for the second quarter of 2018. Among the statistics: 29 projects in the U.S. achieved certification under LEED v4 during that period. Check out this link for more information. 


Resilience Assessment of Structures Using New Method


Windstorms are responsible for approximately $28 billion in damages each year in the United States, with a potential rise to $38 billion by 2075. Traditional structural mechanics approaches evaluate wind damage of structural elements such as beams or walls in relation to a design code, while not accounting for the contribution of non-structural elements which clearly impact building integrity, like windows. This research brief presents an approach with significant advantages over traditional evaluation methods. 




While not blocks in the traditional sense, the units made from waste drywall material aim to solve the problem of what to do with all the waste that comes from gypsum wallboard. As with other innovative products, much testing remains to be done. ~Tina


Concrete Masonry is More Cost-Effective Than Wood - Additional Cities Evaluated

Concrete masonry can not only compete with wood construction on initial cost, in many cases concrete masonry is more cost effective by as much as 4 percent. This was demonstrated through a cost comparison study of three U.S. cities released earlier this year on multi-family construction using six different structural systems. Since the initial release of the study, 14 additional cities have been studied, and 15 more locations are in progress. All the results are available at


Drywall Waste Explored as Building System


A team from Washington State University wants to take one of the construction industry's largest sources of waste and turn it into a plausible building solution. Roughly half of the construction industry's waste stream comes from low-value drywall. A 2,000-sq-ft home can generate more than a ton of the gypsum board product. Their work is on display at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma under the exhibit "Make/Do: A History of Creative Reuse". The display features the drywall blocks, made from 80% drywall waste and a binder from industrial products. Read the article.  




Recycling is a complex issue, involving manufacturers, distributors and consumers. The article below discusses some of the challenges and potential solutions to this multifaceted problem. ~Tina


Regulations and the Role of Producers, Consumers in Recycling


A lack of national directives has brands and consumers unsure of their role in recycling, but industry leaders say everyone must collaborate to promote sustainable practices. "If the states don't step up, and the local communities don't step up, and the manufacturers don't step up, and the consumers don't step up, maybe a stick does need to come down from the federal government," says Eric Potashner, vice president and senior director of strategic affairs at Recology, in this article




TMS Webinar Series Continues on October 11th

The Masonry Society's 2018/2019 2nd-Thursday-of-the-Month Webinar Series are easy ways to learn more about various masonry topics while earning 1 hour of continuing education. Topics include:

  • October 11, 2018 - Specifying the Right Mortar and Grout for your Projects, Jamie Farny, Portland Cement Association
  • November 8, 2018 - Design of Movement and Control Joints for Masonry, Sam Rubenzer, FORSE Consulting
  • December 13, 2018 - Masonry Façade Inspections - Best Practices and Tips, Pamela Jergenson, INSPEC and Michael Schuller, Atkinson-Noland & Associates
  • January 10, 2019 - Rational Design of Masonry Veneers & Shelf Angle Supports, W. Mark McGinley, University of Louisville

Webinars will begin at 1 pm ET. For more information and to register for these seminars, visit the TMS website.





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