Q: For our school project, the structure must be cost effective, resilient, durable, have interior walls with great STC ratings, and must contribute to LEED v4. Is Concrete Masonry Construction a good option?
-Construction for Economy, Durability And Resiliency
We manufacture A LOT of Concrete Masonry Units for school construction, for all of the reasons you asked about, Cedar. Concrete Masonry units come in countless color options, featuring beautiful exposed natural aggregates. They are available with several architectural finishes such as polished, textured polished, ground face and split face. These architectural finishes save money by eliminating the need for additional wall coverings, and for interior use, they contribute to one of the LEED V4 Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) credits as an inherently non-emitting material. CMU construction is also well known for its durability. This means less repairs and maintenance, which leads to lower life cycle costs. CMU also provides resilient structures. Storm shelters are usually constructed of reinforced concrete masonry, and the thermal mass of CMU adds to the passive survivability of a building. Also, thermal mass of CMU structures is recognized by the IECC. Mass walls are allowed to have less insulation compared to other building types (such as steel or wood frame) to pass the energy code. STC ratings for structural concrete masonry fit perfectly with the LEED V4 requirements. For the Material Resources (MR) category, CMU contributes to several credits; many of our CMU colors have recycled content; we have EPD (Environmental Product Declarations) for each one of our mix designs and we also have HPD (Health Product Declarations). Concrete Masonry goes with school design like peanut butter and jelly. Even better!
Heidi Jandris grew up immersed in all things concrete block. As a kid she helped her dad build block walls and as an adult worked by his side as a welder. She received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute and a Masters of Sustainable Building Systems degree from Northeastern University’s College of Engineering. She is part of the 3rd generation of her family’s business. She provides technical services to the design community while researching and implementing ways to improve the efficiency and lower the environmental impacts of their products.