Thanks partly to rising lumber prices and environmental concerns, home builders, architects, and home buyers are showing increasing interest in structural masonry as an alternative to wood-frame construction.As part of its multifaceted residential program, the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) has produced Building with Block, a publication featuring 25 concrete masonry house plans. NCMA and Portland Cement Association (PCA) co-sponsored the Safe & Sound Home, a stuccoed concrete masonry home near Houston. This approximately 4,000-square-foot residence has received a lot of publicity emphasizing the fire safety, beauty, durability, termite resistance, and sound-dampening characteristics of above-grade concrete masonry.Another notable concrete masonry residence is the Environmental Showcase Home in Phoenix. Conceived by Arizona Public Service (APS), the state's largest electric utility, this 2,640-square-foot demonstration home is the apotheosis of energy and resource conservation.