The Masonry Society


Sustainability E-News


April 15, 2012                                                             Volume 4, Number 7



From the Editor

Many people have recently emailed me sharing stories and links on projects and news related to sustainability, and several are featured below.  Thank you for sharing and keep the stories coming!


Christine “Tina” Subasic, PE, LEED AP



NOTE:  Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of the products and materials featured, nor have these products been evaluated by TMS or the editor.  Furthermore, the views expressed in the articles featured are those of the article authors.



As mentioned in last month’s edition, product data and certifications continue to expand as shown below.  ~Tina


What Do You Know About the Materials You’re Using?

Louis Kahn famously asked what a brick wanted, but it might better serve us if we knew what the brick was in the first place.  The building industry’s pivotal role in global greening underscores the need for information transparency.  Read more about activities and trends in this area by clicking here.


Use Certifications to "Score" Product Performance

As green certifications and labels have proliferated, so has greenwash.  Even among legitimate certifications, conflicts and inconsistency have made them hard to understand.  To help you eliminate confusion, BuildingGreen and the Pharos Project put together this guide on how to use the major product certifications to select greener, healthier building products and shows you how the attributes that a certification addresses — and the thresholds of performance it certifies — compare against key quantitative benchmarks.  (Note that Pharos is a fee based service.)


CarbonFree® Product Certification Available

NSF International has introduced the first carbon neutral product label in North America and a corresponding online product certification database.  The CarbonFree® product certification program uses Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) to determine the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over a product’s entire life cycle.  GHG emissions (expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents) that cannot be reduced or eliminated from the products’ life cycle are offset or ‘neutralized’ with third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry carbon offset projects.  For more information visit


P&G Offers Free Access to Supply Chain Sustainability Tool

Procter & Gamble is making available to other companies at no charge an Excel-based tool for measuring sustainability throughout the supply chain.  The company estimates the scorecard has led to almost $1 billion in operational savings due to cutbacks in energy, water, waste and carbon dioxide over the past decade.  To read more about their efforts, click here.  The tool can be found here.




This month’s Green Building News section includes a link to a publication not normally featured in this newsletter – Modern Steel Construction.  But the magazine includes several articles of general interest, and was recommended by a reader of Sustainability E-News.  I hope you enjoy them as well.  ~Tina


Maryland County Program to Include National Green Building Standard

Homes built in Anne Arundel County that conform to the International Code Council's National Green Building Standard will now be eligible for property tax credits.  The County Council passed a bill that expands the program already in place for green homes.  Under the law passed in 2010, homes conforming to the U.S. Green Building Council's standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) are eligible for county property tax credits.  The amount of the tax credit depends on how green the house is, per LEED standards, and homeowners could earn up to $15,000 in property tax credits.  The new legislation allows homes certified under the separate National Green Building Standard to get the credits, as well.


Highlighting Green Homes by Greening the MLS

Studies show that green home construction is growing and more and more buyers find value in green homes.  USGBC has launched Highlighting Green Homes by Greening the MLS Campaign with the goal of making sure all multiple listing service (MLS) platforms include searchable green data fields to help connect the supply of green homes to the growing demand.  LEED for Homes in conjunction with the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders have produced a step-by-step tool kit to Greening the MLS.  Visit


LEED Certification for Commercial Buildings Reaches 12,000

The U.S. Green Building Council has certified its 12,000th LEED building.  "Twelve years after the first 12 projects earned LEED certification, the green building community has reached a significant milestone,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the organization.  Read more at the Delaware Business Blog.


LEED Now Recognizes Credits from BREEAM

LEED is now recognizing credits from BREEAM, the popular European rating system, and LEEDuser has the specifics on how this is going to work.  Read more...


Opt-in to Vote on LEED 2012 Underway

LEED 2012, which includes updates to the LEED for Homes program, will be balloted from June 1-30, 2012.  To vote, you must join the Consensus Body during the Opt-In Period, which begins April 2.  Employees of USGBC national member organizations in good standing are eligible to opt-in and vote.  Learn more about the LEED 2012 Opt-In.


Living Building Institute Certifies First 2 Net-Zero Projects

A community building in Salem, Ore. and an office building in San Jose, Calif., are the first two buildings to achieve net-zero status under the Net Zero Energy Certification program of the International Living Building Institute.  These buildings not only create as much energy as they consume, their wastewater treatment is done on site.  For a building to achieve net-zero certification, it must have been operational for a minimum of 12 months before it is evaluated, unlike the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program, which provides certification based on modeled outcomes.  Read more.


Sustainability and Selecting Structural Materials

Modern Steel Construction magazine’s April 2012 edition  included two interesting articles related to sustainable design.  The first, on page 27, written by John Cross discusses a survey of 900 project owners, developers, general contractors, architects and structural engineers related to selection of structural framing materials.  Some of the results may surprise you.  Sustainability was at the bottom of the list.  In the second, on page 40, Wolfgang Werner presents an analysis of the influence of building structural bay size on embodied energy and CO2 done by Thornton Tomasetti.  The structural engineering firm has developed a “Structural Carbon Efficiency Tool”. 





The Role of Masonry in Sustainable Design and LEEDTM

Arizona Masonry Guild will host this popular seminar from The Masonry Society on April 19, 2012 from 10:15am – 11:45am, as well as several others related to sustainability as part of their Masonry U.  Click here for more information.


TMS 2012 University Professors' Masonry Workshop Registration Open

Registration is now open for The Masonry Society’s University Professors’ Masonry Workshop (UPMW) on May 12-14 at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.  The workshop will feature classes on a variety of topics including durability and sustainability of masonry.  To learn more about the UPMW, visit


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