Editor's Review: The Building Blocks of Sustainability
review date: November 1, 2009
If you could buy foundation blocks that were manufactured using 15% less water and 40% less energy, with 39% fewer CO2 emissions than standard concrete masonry units (CMUs), you’d probably jump at the chance. Well, if you live in northern California, it’s no longer much of a leap.
Integrity Block in Los Altos, Calif., uses a proprietary mixture of natural soils and up to 50% recycled mining by-products to make blocks for structural building and landscaping. Along with the smaller environmental footprint of their manufacturing process, Integrity Block products boast 3 times more resistance to thermal transfer than ordinary CMUs, which reduces the heating and cooling loads in a building.
Using these blocks in a building project can generate LEED points in four categories: energy and atmosphere, recycled content, materials and resources, and indoor environmental air quality. Other LEED points are awarded for the use of products made within 500 miles of a building, but these points won’t be widely appreciated until the company moves forward with its plans to open factories in 15 other locations in the near future.
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