Ontario masonry industry applauds province on infrastructure plan
"[We] particularly welcomes the Province’s commitment to applying a life cycle assessment to infrastructure planning."
Press release from MasonryWorx, Ontario’s association of brick, block and stone professionals.
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Dec. 05, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ontario’s masonry industry sees a great deal of potential for a longer-lasting and more sustainable built fabric in Ontario’s new infrastructure plan.
On Nov. 28, Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli released Building Better Lives: Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan. This plan set forward guidelines to address the evolving infrastructure needs of communities in the province.
The Ontario government is currently in year three of a 13-year, $190-billion infrastructure spending plan. This new plan will inject guiding principles into how this money will be spent as it relates to infrastructure projects, mainly concerning environmental sustainability and infrastructure resilience. As advocates for infrastructure buildings built to a high standard, the masonry industry is optimistic with the substance this recent announcement.
Ontario’s masonry sector particularly welcomes the Province’s commitment to applying a life cycle assessment to infrastructure planning. As the Plan notes, this type of assessment can be used to measure an asset’s environmental impact over its lifespan, helping to identify lower-carbon design, materials and construction options. This type of assessment will also subject buildings to high-standard testing, enabling evidence-based decisions to be made regarding a building’s impact.
Life-cycle assessments are complex, with many moving parts. However, when it comes to materiality, the masonry industry is encouraged that preference will be given to building materials which contribute to the overall performance of the building, the reduction of greenhouse gases from construction to decommissioning, and the durability of the material over the life of the building.
Masonry products embody many attributes which contribute to a strong life-cycle assessment. The term durability is practically synonymous with masonry, as it has been a trusted material for thousands of years. An important test within a LCA is the longevity of a product. Masonry requires minimal maintenance over a 75-year period or longer, and therefore outlasts most building materials when assessing life cycle.
Masonry products also play an important role in reducing greenhouse gases and improving overall performance.
The masonry industry has embraced new technologies to reduce its carbon footprint. Innovative manufacturing processes such as Carbon Cure and Carboclave work to mitigate carbon emissions before a brick or block is ever laid. In fact, concrete masonry products function as a carbon sink, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere throughout their service life. Through this, block can play an active role in mitigating a building’s carbon impact.
Masonry is a local product; most Ontario communities are within 250 kilometres of a masonry manufacturer or dealer. This translates to less greenhouse gases being emitted moving products to the construction site, while also supporting thousands of Ontario jobs.
Masonry is also ideal for reducing a building’s HVAC capacity, as the products can play a role in temperature regulation. In addition, concrete block boasts superior noise attenuation properties, an asset important in the performance of a building in both schools and hospitals.
Ontario’s new plan shows that the Government is committed to building its assets right the first time. The masonry industry applauds the provincial government in taking this new, innovative step in the right direction towards more sustainable infrastructure planning. The infrastructure projects affected by this plan will become important assets utilized by Ontarians for generations to come.