Masonry materials and wall systems, with their inherent thermal mass characteristics, provide designers with many options to achieve energy-efficient designs. This article illustrates examples of wall configurations that exceed national building code requirements and high-performance standards, taking into account factors like increased R-values for non-mass opaque walls (prescriptive design), continuous insulation, requirements for R-value reductions caused by thermal bridging, mandatory continuous air barriers, and options for building energy design.
The Brick Industry Association (BIA) has named its ‘best in brick design’ projects, bringing together a diverse list of buildings from across North America. Selected by an independent panel of judges, this year’s edition of the Brick in Architecture Awards featured more than 150 entries.
There are two main field testing methods used for water repellency of concrete masonry units (CMUs), for quality assurance before being placed in a wall: droplet and RILEM tube testing. Completed assemblies can also be tested with RILEM tubes or other standard water spray tests such as ASTM E514, Standard Test Method for Water Penetration and Leakage Through Masonry.
A single-wythe concrete masonry wall may be a cost-effective structural element, but it can present challenges for waterproofing. The National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) recommends redundancy to keep concrete masonry walls dry through techniques at the surface of the wall, within the wall, and through adequate drainage systems. Unfortunately, many concrete masonry wall designs rely solely on admixtures in the concrete masonry units (CMUs) and mortar and surface-applied water repellents. However, low absorption values do not guarantee water penetration resistance; this disconnect in the industry is a leading reason for leakage in single-wythe concrete masonry walls.