Monumental devastation from 2017’s hurricanes Irving, Maria, and Jose has caused architects and building professionals to look back at lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in August 2005.
Structural masonry saves time and money while providing a durable solution for building design. Masonry has outstanding load carrying and transfer capabilities but is too often relegated to veneer, infill, or over-designed structural elements.
Many conflate R-value with good thermal performance or insulating value. The belief is the higher the R-value, the better the thermal performance. However, as a blanket statement, this could not be any further from the truth.
Loadbearing walls with brick veneer and concrete masonry units (CMUs) were built as solid walls in the first half of the 20th century. Brick veneer and the CMU backup wall were bonded to a solid wall to carry the dead and live loads.
Specification writers must now consider more performance criteria than ever before. As the list of new products continues to grow, design professionals must determine how to reach more stringent targets for indoor environmental quality and energy consumption.
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