Elevating the Future of Building Through the Concrete Masonry Checkoff

Home constructed using concrete blocks

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Apr 19, 2024

This article is included in these additional categories:

Amidst escalating climate extremes and heightened environmental accountability, the importance of resilient infrastructure has surged. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently authorized the creation of the Concrete Masonry Checkoff (CMC), a specific initiative to promote the benefits of concrete masonry. This program, funded by a mandatory assessment of one penny per block sold, will enhance research, education, and promotion of concrete masonry. This model echoes the success of similar checkoff programs in various commodity sectors, such as the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and The National Honey Board, which have significantly boosted demand through sustained investment.

Enhancing Aesthetics and Flexibility with Carbon Sequestration

Concrete masonry is prized for its robustness and its design versatility and aesthetic appeal. According to Kim Spahn, CEO of the CMC, concrete blocks offer economic and environmental benefits that extend well beyond traditional uses like stairwells and elevator shafts. Their modular nature allows for a diverse range of textures and finishes, enabling stunning, durable indoor and outdoor designs.

Concrete Masonry Units (CMUs) are produced locally across all 50 states, reducing the transportation impacts often associated with remote sourcing of building materials. These units begin to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through a process known as carbonation soon after their creation, aiding in the reduction of new-build carbon emissions. “For new construction to be deemed ‘sustainable,’ embodied carbon has become the new standard,” said CMC Board Member and Chair of the Programs Committee, Heidi Jandris. “With the latest studies we’re starting to see just how big a role concrete masonry stands to play in reducing a project’s carbon footprint. CMU is made with dry-cast or zero-slump concrete, which sequesters more carbon dioxide at a much faster rate than other types of concrete.”

Longevity and Economic Benefits of Using Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks are renowned for their ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, contributing to their longevity and reducing the need for frequent rebuilds. Major Ogilvie, Chair of the CMC Board, emphasized concrete’s cultural and historical significance in construction, noting its pervasive use in disaster-prone regions as a preventive measure against severe weather damage. Occupants of buildings made from concrete masonry enjoy enhanced safety and significant savings on energy bills due to the thermal mass of the blocks, which regulates indoor temperatures year-round. Furthermore, a recent Southeast Concrete Masonry Association (SCMA) study found that concrete masonry can be more cost-effective than traditional wood and light gauge steel framing, offering substantial savings on construction costs and insurance premiums.
Through these initiatives, the Concrete Masonry Checkoff aims to foster a new era of sustainable and resilient construction, leveraging concrete masonry’s inherent strengths to meet contemporary challenges.

Additional articles you will be interested in.

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Share This