Watershed Materials - Technology for New Concrete Blocks
The block with a smaller carbon footprint.

Blog - Watershed Materials - Watershed Block

Blog updates by Watershed Materials. Developments for sustainable new concrete block technology funded by the National Science Foundation.

Masonry Design Magazine Features Watershed Materials' Newest Technology

Our friends at Masonry Design Magazine ran seven beautiful pages on Watershed Materials' newest technology exploring the adaptive re-use of excavation waste to produce structural masonry right at the construction site. The story was originally published on our blog written in collaboration with Westlake Urban and Alpha Group but looks so much better in print on Masonry Design Magazine's pages.

ArchDaily Features Watershed Materials' Mobile Block Production Technology

ArchDaily featured Watershed Materials in a great story on our mobile block production technology that turns excavation waste into building materials. ArchDaily ran this story following their initial feature on Watershed Block published shortly after the Stanford Lasuen project was completed.

""The pop-up plant itself works by applying ultra-high compression to loose excavation spoils, transforming it into a sustainable CMU. The pressure turns the mineral grains into a sort of sedimentary rock, mimicking the natural geological process of lithification."

Press, NewsAlex WrightComment
On Site Masonry Production from Diverted Excavation - Explorations in Hyper-Local Adaptive Materials Reuse For Real Estate Development

Watershed Materials is teaming up with Westlake Urban and Alpha Group to explore a solution to a problem that real estate developers often face – excavation that has to be moved off a construction site to make way for new buildings.

Rather than haul off the excavation spoils then import thousands of concrete masonry units (CMUs) for use at the project, the developers and Watershed Materials are working together to repurpose native excavation material right at the job site to create the structural masonry blocks used in the development.

Watershed Materials Hires Director of Research and Development Dustin Hulbert, Ph.D., Formerly of CalStar Products

We’re proud to announce the recent hire of the very talented Dustin Hulbert as Watershed Materials’ Director of Research and Development. Dustin is charged with continuing development of high compression low cement masonry products, designing novel non-cement binder designs, and developing a growth strategy for expanding into other markets like Southern California and Central Texas.

Here’s a short interview we had with Dustin to introduce himself and describe where’s he’s been and where he’s going. 

Watershed Materials Featured in 3 Pages of Dwell Magazine's Materials Sourcebook Special Issue

Dwell Magazine included Watershed Materials in their recent Special Issue - Materials Sourcebook 2016

The letter from the Editor-in-Chief, Amanda Dameron, entitled In the Material World speaks to our mission in more ways than one : "This special issue celebrates the way that architects and residents alike have engaged bold material palettes as a vehicle for communicating their ideals ... It's inconceivable to conjure the work without the materials, not to mention the tireless minds that dared to recast the mundane."

SNAP Magazine by Architectural Record Puts Watershed Materials on the Cover

We're thrilled to see our latest zero-cement block formulation on the cover of SNAP Magazine, a publication covering architectural news and products published by Architectural Record.

They write, "Offering a compressive strength of 2,500 psi, these blocks can replace concrete ones in commercial and residential buildings. Made of lime, aluminosilicates, and blast-furnace slag, these blocks provide an environmentally friendly alternative to Portland cement."

Open House

Thanks to all those who came out to Watershed Materials' and Rammed Earth Works' Open House on Saturday, February 13th 2016. Over 200 people came out during the course of the event including Bay Area architects, engineers and developers interested in new techniques for sustainable building.

EventsDavid EastonComment
BuildWell Conference 2016

We're excited to be involved in our second BuildWell conference. This year, David Easton will be speaking in two panels:

Ultra Low Carbon Materials : Natural Building Goes Mainstream from 11:15a to 12:30p on Wednesday, February 10 

Going Big League : Getting to Scale - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from 11:15a to 12:30p on Friday, February 12

EventsAlex WrightComment
Watershed Materials Featured in 6 Beautiful Pages of Masonry Magazine, a Publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America

We're thrilled to be featured in six great looking pages of Masonry Magazine, an industry publication put out by the Mason Contractors Association of America

Remixing Modern Masonry With Watershed Block : Modern Masonry Technology Adapts to Contemporary Needs, While Maintaining a Heritage of Strength and Greatness.

Press, NewsAlex WrightComment
Announcing a New Zero Cement Block Formula Made With Lime, Slag and Natural Aluminosilicates

Watershed Materials is on a mission to reduce - or eliminate - cement from structural concrete masonry, one of the most common construction materials used around the world. The manufacture of cement is inordinately harmful to the environment, and humans make so much cement that it’s responsible for 6% of all the world’s CO2 emissions. Today, Watershed Materials is proud to announce a breakthrough production-ready zero cement block formulation that offers an impressive 2,500psi compressive strength, a gorgeous snow-white appearance, and an improved environmental profile.

Stanford University Discovers Watershed Block

Watershed Materials is thrilled to have Watershed Block incorporated in a beautiful new sustainable building on the Stanford University campus. This is the first project for Watershed Block at Stanford, but the company has a long history with the university. Rammed Earth Works, our sister company, built the rammed earth walls for the highly awarded Windhover Contemplative Center.

The project, set amongst a grove of eucalyptus trees, is one of the first buildings visitors see when they step onto campus. Chris Dorman, Principal Designer at Dorman Associates, worked with Alexander Eng, Kelly Rohlfs and Stacey Yuen at Stanford University to design the building.

NewsDavid EastonComment
Watershed Materials Featured on ArchDaily - "The World's Most Visited Architecture Website"

Many thanks to ArchDaily's editor Rory Scott who reached out after reading a fun thread on Reddit and followed up with a fantastic piece about our development of low / zero cement structural masonry.

ArchDaily writes, "Right now, the Watershed Block is most popular with designers in the company's local area of California, but the company is confident that their technology could have wider, more transformative applications: in developing parts of the world, where cement can be expensive, Watershed Materials hopes that these technologies can make construction cheaper by using locally-available materials in place of costly cement."

PressAlex WrightComment
New Geopolymer Masonry from Watershed Materials Turns Natural Clays Into Durable Building Products

Up to twice as strong as traditional concrete, Watershed Materials’ sustainable geopolymer masonry uses no cement, no fly ash, no blast furnace slag, no metakaolin, requires no high temperature kilning, and incorporates no dyes or colorants. “We’ve solved the puzzle to allow natural clays to form geopolymer bonds for the production of high strength building materials,” says Dr. Jose Muñoz, Watershed Materials’ director of technology. Read our first research report to find out more.


Congressman Mike Thompson Visits Watershed Materials' Research and Manufacturing Facility

The team at Watershed Materials was thrilled to share the day with Congressman Mike Thompson, who represents California's 5th congressional district that stretches from Clear Lake to Vallejo. Representative Thompson visited Watershed Materials' manufacturing facility and geopolymer research lab to find out more about the company and see how we're using the National Science Foundation's SBIR grants to develop technology for low cement sustainable masonry.

NewsAlex WrightComment
Watershed Materials Featured by National Science Foundation

We're thrilled and flattered to be featured on the website of the National Science Foundation's SBIR program as well as their Tumblr. The NSF funded Watershed Materials' research, both for a geopolymer replacement to Portland cement used in concrete masonry and for a new machine platform to produce low (or zero) cement masonry. We're thankful that our research based on their funding - in this case our first prototype block machine - has made it's way up to their website and Tumblr.