Training News

Green Masonry

Journal: Issue 3 - 2007

The new BAC/IMI National Training Center in Maryland was designed to be “Green.”

When designers think of masonry, traits like “solid” and “durable” typically
spring to mind. “Hip” has not usually made the list – until now. As architecture and construction decision makers, among others, increasingly place a priority on environmentally sound, or green materials and methods, the International Masonry Institute (IMI) is working to show them how masonry can help achieve their design and sustainability goals.

It helps that masonry is green. In addition to its recyclable and renewable attributes, masonry’s sustainable virtues address durability, thermal resistance/energy performance, and indoor air quality. These traits are recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council, the nonprofit building industry group that oversees the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED® Green Building Rating System™, and other industry organizations that set the guidelines for green design.

LEED®, the national benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, looks at various key areas including: sustainable sites, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.

Many cities now require LEED® or comparable certification on public projects. Some cities, like Washington, D.C., even demand it on private projects, and others offer tax and financial incentives. “It is a trend that is here to stay, and we are ready,” says BAC President and IMI Co-Chair John J. Flynn.

It is also a subject that hits close to home. The new BAC/IMI National Training Center in Maryland was designed as a LEED® certified facility, and is in the process of obtaining LEED® certification.

IMI uses a variety of approaches to show masonry’s green qualities to designers, builders and owners, including seminars, lunchbox sessions and a user-friendly LEED® Checklist. The Checklist addresses all masonry materials – brick, stone, tile, terrazzo, marble, plaster and cement – and shows how they support the criteria for achieving up to 31 LEED® points. To download a copy of the checklist go to

As IMI educates architects, the emphasis is on early incorporation of masonry, and addressing a “whole building solution” with masonry. IMI reminds designers that the benefits of masonry start at the building envelope and extend to the performance of the whole design.

“We are providing the tools for designers to better apply masonry toward LEED® certification, and to use it as easily as other materials,” says IMI President Joan Calambokidis.

The IMI Masonry Detailing Series makes it even easier to incorporate masonry in LEED® certified projects by providing a variety of masonry details and wall types. To learn more visit



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