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A recently opened, four-level Hilton Garden Inn underscores the cost-saving potential and reduced carbon dioxide footprint of FM2000 block, whose engineering properties spell less cement, grout and rebar in a finished wall assembly when measured against conventional concrete masonry units.

Taylor Concrete Products delivered 70,000 of the value-added block to the site, located about two miles from its Watertown, N.Y., plant. The producer is a leading promoter of the New York State Concrete Masonry Association-initiated FM2000, formulated and molded to have compressive strength of at least 2,800 psi—45 percent stronger than conventional ASTM C90 product. Taylor Concrete expands on the FM2000 spec by substituting 20 percent of the portland cement with Lafarge NewCem slag cement. It dedicated a silo to the material after NYSCMA testing set the stage for FM2000 commercialization.

The higher-strength properties allow engineers to design structures using smaller-sized CMU or reduced reinforcement, thus realizing significant savings in both material and labor during construction. The Hilton Garden Watertown incorporates 8- and 10-in. FM2000 block in 64,000 sq. ft. of interior and exterior walls. Use of conventional CMU would have required 29.3 tons of reinforcing steel and 265 cu. yd. of grout, Taylor Concrete estimates, compared to the project’s actual schedule: 11.9 tons of rebar and 132.5 cu. yd. of grout. The producer figures savings of $60,000 in material costs for the hotel developer, and a net 5 percent increase in masons’ productivity when measured against typical CMU wall construction.

In terms of carbon dioxide emissions—a factor design and construction professionals are gauging more closely for green building-era procurement—the optimized steel and grout scheme at Hilton Garden Watertown equates to a savings of approximately 47 tons. Taylor Concrete estimates an additional CO2 savings of 31 tons with the 20 percent NewCem slag cement factor compared to a portland cement-only FM2000 block mix design. This brings the total carbon emission savings of the project to approximately 78 tons. Joining Taylor Concrete as a key project supplier was hollowcore plank producer Say-Core, Inc. of Portage, Pa.

Along with other innovative design characteristics, the use of high-strength masonry enabled the developer to achieve a structure with important fire safety and environmental features that is an attractive addition to the Watertown community.