US Producers Getting In The Game

With Carbon Calculator

John Surratt, LEED AP BD+C

US Producers Getting In The Game

John Surratt


While the masonry industry continues to educate designers and owners in the multi-faceted benefits of building systems incorporating its products, increased transparency will benefit its message. Concrete masonry contains cement – known for its CO2 impact – in both units and masonry grout. With inherent and optional attributes available to concrete masonry, transparency can assist in demonstrating lower impacts versus other forms of concrete.

Concrete masonry units utilize about one-third the amount of cement needed by pourable/pumpable concrete mixes. Masonry grout can use supplemental cementitious materials to reduce impacts, such as 40% fly ash, or a combination of 25% fly ash and 55% ground granulated blast furnace slag, for example. (See Sustainable Building with Masonry on p 30 of this issue or read an additional report at Since grout is 50% or more of the volume of a solid grouted wall, the reduction in CO2 is dramatic.

Environmental impact estimators are useful in exploring comparative outputs of various assemblies, and while they have matured and are highly regarded, the values are generally based upon generic data. They are often derived from sources within Eastern regions of North America. The selection of assemblies for concrete masonry are also limited to wall types common to that region.

Taking a cue from neighbors to the north, Angelus Block has introduced its own Carbon Calculator specific to its cement type and source location, its Southern California locale, and the wall types typically used in the Southern California region. The Calculator demonstrates a lower base impact versus eastern data and demonstrates the significant reductions in carbon output with optional masonry grout mixes. The Calculator also accounts for the unique treatment of concrete masonry mass walls in the California Energy Code, where insulation is not mandated. Thus, calculated values are more accurate for the region served by Angelus Block.

The Angelus Block Carbon Calculator, along with the Angelus EPD and HPDs, may be downloaded from

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