3 Ways Stone and Brick Masonry Promotes Sustainable Building

Sep 17, 2019

For centuries, brick masons relied on stone and brick units for their durability and longevity. However, with stricter environmental building regulations, like Denver’s Green Buildings Ordinance, these materials’ are now recognized for their sustainability and energy-efficiency benefits.  

Stone and Brick’s High Thermal Mass Regulates Building Temperatures 

Stone and brick both have a high thermal mass which can help regulate energy usage.

Thermal Mass

A material’s thermal mass is its capability to absorb, retain, and radiate heat. High-density materials, like stone and brick, require more energy to change their temperatures. Meaning, these materials can absorb heat quickly but release it slowly. 

The Difference Between Thermal Mass and Insulation

Insulation prevents outside heat from moving inside, reducing the need for excess energy usage to cool down the building’s interior. It is most efficient for maintaining separate internal and external temperatures when the external temperature is relatively stable. Thermal mass, however, can regulate a building’s interior temperature when outside temperatures frequently fluctuate. 

For example, brick can absorb and retain solar heat during the daytime, slowing the amount of heat that transfers inside. At night when temperatures cool, the brick releases built-up heat energy, warming the building’s interior. This effect maintains relatively stable internal temperatures and therefore lowers energy usage. 

Locally-Sourced Stone and Brick

Regionally-sourced goods are increasingly popular across industries because they carry environmental benefits as well as stimulate the local economy. 

Reduce Emissions

Transporting masonry materials requires fuel and manpower, so cutting down on travel distance by using locally-sourced stone and brick reduces your project’s carbon footprint.

Match the Surrounding Environment

Local stone, in particular, has colors and qualities distinctive to the region so that they can help a building’s exterior blend in with the landscape.  

Achieve Green Certification Status

For contractors seeking environmental qualifications, like LEED certification, a percentage of your building materials must be harvested and manufactured within a certain distance of the job site to qualify. Locally sourcing as many materials as possible builds clout with sustainability organizations. 

 

Stone and Brick are Naturally Recyclable

Using recycled building materials conserves natural resources and lowers the amount of construction waste sent to landfills. 

Recycled Stone and Brick Meets Building Codes

Though eco-friendly building materials, like bamboo and Hempcrete, are increasingly common, building codes still allow the reuse of very few materials. Stone and brick are widely permitted for reuse, and are readily sought after for their durability, and weathered aesthetic. 

Recycling Crushed Stone and Brick

Recycled stones and bricks can also be crushed into a powder and used for multiple purposes, like backfilling retaining walls, as an aggregate in concrete, and as ground cover around trees and bushes. Additionally, crushed brick is an excellent choice for roofing materials because it is porous but still adds weight. 

Why Choose Phoenix Masonry?  

As with any construction project, the materials you select depend on your building’s purpose and physical requirements. With Phoenix Masonry, you can expect expert advice when choosing materials, and collaborative execution on your construction project. Are you looking for commercial masonry contractors with a strong legacy of integrity and high-quality work? Contact us for a bid today.

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