Masonry leads the way in green building techniques. Masonry Design follows this vitally important movement in the building construction industry.
Lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) are the two largest uses of energy throughout the commercial building sector. In fact, lighting alone accounts for nearly 35–50 percent of total electricity consumption. Within the building envelope, however, lies the opportunity to reduce the energy being consumed and decrease a building’s overall carbon footprint. Achieving sustainability within the building envelope starts with specifying the right products. Choosing eco-friendly products doesn’t just ensure lower energy costs; it can enhance occupant health and reduce any negative impact on the building itself, as well as the environment.
Nothing says sustainability more than preserving, restoring and repurposing existing buildings. The greenest buildings today are those already built. Masonry is a sustainable, resilient material that can survive floods and fires. It is the oldest and most permanent building material, exuding a sense of permanence, longevity, quality, reliability and familiarity, yet it is forgiving and flexible. Many brick buildings that were built more than 100 years ago are continuing to fulfill their original purposes, while others have been adapted for new purposes.
Masonry, one of the oldest and most beautiful trades, has been on a steady decline since the 1960s. Due to dramatic changes in the way today’s homes, chimneys, foundations and steps are being constructed, the industry is at its lowest point in 80 years. The average age of masonry professionals is increasing and the number entering apprenticeships is declining. In the northeast corner of the U.S., a Maine-based masonry company is quietly working to revive the declining industry through new product development and innovation.
Cintec International, a leader in the field of structural masonry retrofit strengthening, repair, and preservation, reported recently that its patented anchors were used in the restoration of Astley Castle in Warwickshire, England. Following its renovations, Astley Castle was awarded the prestigious Riba Stirling Prize for Architecture.
Last year during the Greenbuild Conference & Expo, a panel presentation on Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, caught my attention. According to the panelists, Abu Dhabi has the largest per capita carbon footprint in the world. To counteract this problem, Abu Dhabi has plans to build the first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city in the world.
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