Masonry walls constitute the interface between the building’s interior and the outdoor environment. Masonry walls are traditionally composed of fired-clay bricks (solid or perforated) or blocks (concrete or earth-based), but in the past (and even in the present) they were often associated as needing an extra special thermal and acoustical insulation layer. However, over more recent years investigations on thermal and acoustical features has led to the development of new improved bricks and blocks that no longer need these insulation layers. Traditional masonry units (fired-clay bricks, concrete or earth-based blocks) that don’t offer improved performance in terms of thermal and acoustical insulation are a symbol of a low-technology past, that are far removed from the demands of sustainable construction.
This book provides an up-to-date state-of-the-art review on the eco-efficiency of masonry units, particular emphasis is placed on the design, properties, performance, durability and LCA of these materials. Since masonry units are also an excellent way to reuse bulk industrial waste the book will be important in the context of the Revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC which states that the minimum reuse and recycling targets for construction and demolition waste (CDW) should be at least 70% by 2020. On the 9th of March 2011 the European Union approved the Regulation (EU) 305/2011, known as the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) and it will be enforced after the 1st of July 2013. The future commercialization of construction materials in Europe makes their environmental assessment mandatory meaning that more information related to the environmental performance of building materials is much needed.