Building Blocks of Change

Effort will Offset CO2 Emissions from Concrete Building Materials, Restore Wildlife Habitat and Advance Green Building in Washington, D.C. Metro Area Arlington, VA—Ernest Maier Block and The Conservation Fund announced the Building Blocks of Change program to help offset the CO2 emissions from the production of concrete building materials, restore native forests for wildlife and advance green building in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Building Blocks of Change is available to real estate developers, contractors, architects, designers and even residential homeowners working to advance sustainable development. For each regular concrete masonry unit or architectural concrete masonry unit purchased from Ernest Maier, customers can donate eight tenths of one cent ($0.008) toward offsetting the CO2 emissions that result during the concrete manufacturing process. Similarly, for each square foot of concrete unit pavers, customers can donate one cent ($.01), and for each square face foot of segmental retaining wall, customers can donate two cents ($.02) toward offsetting the CO2 emissions that result during the concrete manufacturing process. Ernest Maier will match every customer donation, dollar for dollar. The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® program will use the money to plant trees that will trap CO2 emissions as they grow.

Founded in 1926 by Ernest Maier, Sr., the Bladensburg-based “Ernest Maier & Sons” started forming blocks by hand on a Sears block machine, turning out 72 per day. Eighty-four years later, Ernest Maier works with architects, contractors, real estate developers and homeowners in the Washington, D.C., metro area, selling more than nine million blocks each year. The company’s environmental efforts already include using fly ash in concrete masonry units to help keep emissions lower, recapturing water during block curing, capturing storm water for use in ready mix operations and collecting and processing used cooking oil from six Washington D.C. area restaurants for use as fuel for off-road equipment.

“Concrete is an essential building material for the construction industry,” said Brendan Quinn, president of Bladensburg-based Ernest Maier Block, “and in fact, its use as a material on earth is second only to water. Although it is durable and locally sourced, concrete includes cement and the manufacturing of cement results in greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, about one ton of CO2 is emitted for every ton of cement produced. Through our Building Blocks of Change program, combined with our existing green initiatives, we can take positive steps with The Conservation Fund to not only mitigate those emissions, but also to help restore forests across America.” As an inaugural gift to the program, Ernest Maier made a donation to The Conservation Fund on behalf of Stoddert Elementary School in Washington, D.C. to offset the use of concrete masonry units in the structural walls of the school. The school is being modernized with help from Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut & Kuhn Architects and Whiting-Turner Contracting, under the supervision of the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization in the District government.

“Together with Ernest Maier and its customers, the concrete industry and the green building community in the Washington, D.C. metro area, we can advance sustainable development, help address climate change and restore habitat for wildlife,” said The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero
director, Jena Meredith. Go Zero works with individuals and companies like Ernest Maier to help reduce and then offset the carbon footprint of everyday activities, such as the CO2 emissions resulting from an in-town or cross-country move with U-Haul, a flight purchased from Travelocity.com, a package shipped from Gaiam.com or the electricity it takes to power a Dell notebook for three years. Customer donations help plant native trees in protected parks and wildlife refuges that will capture and store carbon over time, while also creating forest habitats that are critical to birds, fish, bears and other wildlife. Concrete masonry and concrete unit pavers enable designers to create durable and sustainable structures that are consistent with green building objectives, including those highlighted through the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards. Through smart design, these products can be used to make efficient use of readily available local and recycled materials, produce structures that improve protection to occupants from fire, high-winds, and earthquakes, filter storm water through permeable pavements and achieve building energy efficiency. Now, those involved with green building can take the process one-step further by participating in Ernest Maier’s Building Blocks of Change program to mitigate greenhouse gases and restore habitat for wildlife.