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.

Posts in News
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."

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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NewsDavid EastonComment
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.


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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.

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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.

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Back to the Beginning : Radically Re-Thinking the Concrete Block Machine

Watershed Materials has been working to re-invent a different kind of concrete block - called Watershed Block - that offers the same structural properties of a traditional concrete block but with a beautiful, natural appearance and a significantly lower carbon footprint.

To accomplish this, we had to totally re-invent a new machine to make Watershed Block. We're proud to unveil the first prototype of our new machine, supported by the National Science Foundation.

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Watershed Materials Awarded $740,000 from the National Science Foundation To Develop Durable Green Masonry Building Materials With Zero Cement

Watershed Materials is proud to announce that the company has been awarded a Phase II SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation to further develop and commercialize structural masonry with zero cement. The company successfully completed Phase I of the grant process earlier this year and looks forward to completing the research, development, and commercialization in Phase II.

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News, AwardsDavid EastonComment
Watershed Materials Featured in a 5 Page Dwell Story "A Greener Building Block"

Watershed Materials is thrilled to be featured in a five page story in Dwell Magazine's October issue. The story, called A Greener Building Block, highlights the materials side of sustainable construction, often overlooked in beautiful national design magazines.

Dwell writes, "In many ways, this essentially prefabricated structure echoes Frank Lloyd Wright’s idealized midcentury Usonian house, which he describes in his book The Natural House as being 'integral to its site, integral to its environment, integral to the life of the inhabitants.'"

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Press, NewsAlex WrightComment
Watershed Materials Selected as a Finalist for SXSW Eco Startup Showcase Competition.

Watershed Materials is proud to announce that the company has been selected as a finalist to present at the SXSW Eco entrepreneurial pitch competition, the Startup Showcase. Hundreds of innovative sustainability focused companies from around the world applied to present, and Watershed Materials is thrilled to be chosen as a finalist. SXSW Eco’s entrepreneurial pitch competition, the Startup Showcase, will take place on October 6-7, 2014 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX. 

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Events, NewsAlex WrightComment
Home Built Entirely of Watershed Block Survives Magnitude 6 Earthquake With No Damage.

The Watershed Materials team was shaken awake at 3 in the morning by a magnitude 6.0 earthquake located just a few miles from both the Watershed Materials headquarters factory and the first home built entirely of Watershed Block.

We are happy to report that the first home built entirely of Watershed Block, located nearly on top of the epicenter of the strongest earthquake to strike the California Bay Area in over 20 years, sustained absolutely no structural damage or any visible damage of any kind. After the strong earthquake, we witnessed absolutely no signs of damage - no cracks in the mortar joint lines, or on the faces of any blocks.

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