Building (both commercial and residential) are a major contributor of GHG.
In United States, buildings account for 39% of the total CO2 emissions. At the moment, majority of the masonry products that are being used in constructions are made with finite natural resources that require large amount of fossil fuels for production.
One of the most common used masonry product is the cinder block. Cinder blocks are made from the mixture of Portland cement and sand/gravel. In order to make cement, limestone must be heated up to 2700 degrees Fahrenheit, which required significant amount of fossil fuels. By some estimate, the production of cement is responsible for over 5% of the total global CO2 generated each year.
Watershed Material, a start-up based on Napa Valley in California, has come up with innovative solution for this major environmental issue. Watershed Block is a cinder block, made from recycled aggregate, regionally sources material that undergo a "lithification” process, where the sediments are then converted into rock. Watershed Blocks not only have a more natural look, but based on the company’s website, the new cinders have half as much CO2 footprint of the conventional cement blocks. Additional environmental advantages of Watershed Block include reduction of risk to human health (due to lack of colorants, plasticizers, etc.) and reduction of emission to land and water.