Assessment of CO2 Sequestration of Concrete Masonry

Grantee: Concrete Masonry & Hardscapes Association
Principle Investigators: Jason Thompson
Year: 2021
Project Number: 2021.011
Status: In Progress

Carbon accounting and global warming potential are driving design decisions more and more. This research is focused on quantifying carbon sequestration in concrete masonry products.

Program Details:

In 2020, CMHA’s Masonry Committee formed a task group to oversee a pilot testing program with two primary goals:

  • Develop testing protocols to accurately and repeatedly measure the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by concrete masonry units (and similar manufactured concrete products); and
  • Determine whether this quantity of sequestered CO2 was sufficiently large enough to promote or highlight as a marketing advantage when touting the sustainable attributes of concrete masonry.

The pilot investigation showed promise on both these fronts with limited test data indicating that concrete masonry has the potential of removing significantly higher amount of CO2 than previously thought. If true, promoting the ‘carbon sink’ attributes of concrete masonry will become more important in this carbon-driven market.

This project will expand on those pilot results. Funding of this project will support:

  • Collecting of samples of concrete masonry units from various producers located in different geographical locations;
  • Storage and conditioning of these units at CMHA under controlled conditions; and
  • Testing for sequestered CO2 in these samples at periodic time intervals over a two-year period to quantify and track carbon sequestration.

The primary goal of this project is to develop CO2 sequestration testing protocols to allow producers to accurately and uniformly measure CO2 uptake, which in turn can be used in messaging to decision makers on the environmental benefits of concrete masonry construction.