On Thursday, November 9, 2017, 1–2 p.m. Eastern, The Masonry Society (TMS) will host the webinar entitled “Exterior Masonry Walls and Energy Code Compliance.” This is the second in the 2017–2018 series of TMS-sponsored webinars, held on the second Thursday of each month from October through May.
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.
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.
Selecting masonry products requires consideration of a number of attributes – performance, aesthetics and cost, to name just a few. If you’re working on a green building, the list grows. Products for sustainable projects require an additional level of scrutiny to determine environmental impacts, including operational and embodied energy, carbon footprint, and impact on human and ecosystem health.
Saving energy and creating jobs is a key challenge facing the design and construction industry, and a strengthened federal Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction (179D) is the proposed solution. The AIA’s ongoing advocacy of this tax incentive, established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), as well as its continued efforts to increase awareness of the benefits within the industry, is a clear sign of the importance of this issue.
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.
In today’s energy-conscious economy, owners of aging and historic buildings grapple with the costs of sustainability and rehabilitation versus new construction. Owners must address the financial and energy ramifications of demolition, evaluating longevity and the building lifecycle, and the social, political, or architectural significance of their buildings.