Hi All - Does anyone know of a reliable source of data for the environmental impacts of fly ash brick? Or other good/better cladding options in the masonry family? Thanks in advance!
The main US fly ash brick manufacturer, Calstar, went out of business a few years ago and someone took over their production, but I don’t know if they are still making any brick. So you are going to find it hard to find any info on fly ash brick, except on a theoretical level. As for other masonry materials you can go to the appropriate associations to get data from them. For clay brick, go to the Brick Industry Association and check out their Technical Notes 48. For concrete block go to the National Concrete Masonry Association and check out TEK 6-9B. Both documents will give you a starting point.
I thought this was an interesting discussion on the ‘old basecamp’. Thanks for helping to migrate content @lori.ferriss
From @ianrobertson: One has to love low carbon bricks with high form factor envelopes
**From Larry Strain ** Watershed block is a really great product. It’s basically a rammed earth block that get it’s strength from compression, so it uses 50% less cement. They make a thin cap block or paver that might work as a cladding material.
Watershed blocks (https://watershedmaterials.com/) might be worth looking into. A couple caveats - they are generally a CMU replacement (rather than brick) and manufacture is based in the Bay Area. However, they have a fairly high SCM content, and also gain strength from compression, not firing, so they avoid some emissions there as well.
Hope this helps!
**From @jonorato ** Thanks Jeremy, nice product!
On the east coast side, I know there is one company which does brick from 100% recycled material (post-industrial and post-consumer): https://www.greenleafbrick.com/
**From @stevet **
Some of the thin brick and block materials incorporate fly ash and other scms and are worth a look: for one: https://www.rcpblock.com/images/resources/sustainability/EPD-Splitface.pdf
**From @lori.ferriss ** On the CMU front in my neighborhood, Jandris already incorporates CarbonCure technology and SCMs into their process and has been working on other innovations that would allow further reductions to the cement content in their block products. Others in this group may have more information on that.
**From Shanna Kelly ** The product below isn’t really an answer to your question and I think they are just in the research stage now, but an interesting read on the use of recycled drywall into block: https://magazine.wsu.edu/2020/01/31/the-era-of-green-reconstruction/
I would just be cautious since most of these products are in the experimental stage and may not be available for widespread construction. It might be a neat product for small projects, but may not be applicable for large scale projects.
And don’t rely on old information about fire clay brick and concrete masonry. As noted above CarbonCure technology is becoming more accepted by block manufacturers and clay brick manufacturers have reduced their carbon footprint over the last couple of decades. I’m waiting on an industry wide EPD from the clay brick industry which is supposed to be released later this year (2020).