Abstract: In the context of the booming building and real estate industry in the rapidly urbanizing countries, the environmental resources are being consumed unsustainably with signs of this skewed development showing in the degraded ecosystems and climate change calamities, causing loss of lives as well as compromised qualities of living. In this backdrop as well as the United Nation’s watchword for 2015 Environment Day ‘Sustainable production and consumption’, this paper reports the results of a study that investigated the water consumption pattern of a widely used building material in the Indian construction industry – the Concrete Masonry Units (CMUs), commonly referred to as concrete blocks – through primary survey of a manufacturing unit located in West Bengal, India. Since this material has emerged as a popular substitute of the conventional burnt clay brick for use in walls, it becomes pertinent to check its environmental imprint with respect to water in comparison to bricks to ensure a more sustainable construction. The study finds the water foot-print of hollow concrete blocks to be 0.119 kL/Cu m and the solid concrete blocks to be 0.416 kL/Cu m against that of the common clay bricks as 0.71 kL/Cu m.
Keywords: Water foot-print, embodied water coefficient, concrete blocks, sustainability.