Concrete Masonry: An Optimized Low Carbon Wall
Optimized cmu and grout minimize greenhouse gas impacts compared to other systems.
Reduction of carbon emissions by buildings and their components drives many strategies in green rating systems. Concepts addressing regionality and transportation, sourcing of products and raw materials, and energy consumption have an underlying intent of reducing greenhouse gases.
The celebrity target for reduction is Portland cement (Pc), widely known for the high amounts of carbon dioxide produced in its manufacture. The rule of thumb that equates a ton of Pc to a ton of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere is easy to comprehend and remember, making the material the lowest of hanging fruit. However, too often left out of the narrative is the fact that concrete absorbs CO2 over its lifetime. Expanding research is indicating 30% to 50% of concrete's carbon emissions are recaptured by concrete itself.
Pc produced by traditional methods is entrenched in the building structure supply chain. Concrete products utilizing Pc provide cost-effective, durable, and resilient solutions for structures. The industry is working on many strategies to mitigate the impact of Pc production, including reduced energy requirements, alternate materials, and revised chemistry and production methods. Until next-generation materials have matured to market, Pc as currently manufactured will dominate concrete products
The challenge at present is in optimizing and reducing Pc's role in a given product. Not all products manufactured with Pc are created equal.