Gigacrete: An Alternative to Concrete
We have never been fond of concrete for single family residential uses; there is too much gravel excavation, carbon released making cement, transport of a heavy, marginally recyclable material to house a couple of people. Yet there is something to be said for some of the properties of concrete; it is strong, verminproof. has good thermal mass and is non-combustible.
Now, it appears that one can have the best of both worlds. Justin at Materialicious shows us Gigacrete, which has no portland cement but a "proprietary non-toxic binder" made from "a different cementitious binder consisting of commonly found nontoxic elements available from many locations throughout the world." We are not nuts about proprietary solutions and prefer to know what ingredients go into our buildings, but definitely like the fact that up to 80% of the volume of the material is fillers:
These fillers include waste bottom ash from coal fired power generation stations, not just the marketable fly ash currently used in Portland-based concrete. Other potential filler materials that could be implemented include waste paper, recycled cardboard, recycled plastics, recycled polystyrene, agricultural waste fibers, and paper sludge. All of the above materials become fireproof when mixed with the GigaCreteâ„¢ binder and can be made very lightweight with strengths close to, and even exceeding, traditional concrete. The new composites have virtually no shrinking or cracking like concrete and can be demolded within eight hours."
The stuff is light- this guy looks tough but he couldn't lift a piece of concrete that size.
Summary of the "Green Factors":
-Several GigaCreteâ„¢ products can be made with recycled waste material such as bottom ash, fly ash, sludge, or dredged materials. And, these waste material fillers can comprise up to 80% (by volume) of GigaCreteâ„¢ products. Usage of such waste materials reduces the amount of these byproducts going to landfills or other waste storage sites.
- Less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are produced from the manufacture of the GigaCreteâ„¢ cement binder than compared to the manufacture of Portland cement.
- Energy savings can be achieved with the GigaCreteâ„¢ PanelSystem due to the high thermal efficiency and insulating value of the panel material. According to the "Structural Insulated Panel Association in Partnership with Oakridge National Labs," structural paneled homes can achieve energy savings of up to 70%.
- The GigaCreteâ„¢ cement binder is 100% nontoxic.
- GigaCreteâ„¢ products use approximately two-thirds less water than conventional Portland-based cement products.
- High resistance to mold, mildew, insects, and vermin facilitates cleaner living environments.
- Reduction of waste materials is achieved due to efficient manufacturing methods and a building system design that reduces "on-the-job" waste.
All GigaCreteâ„¢ ash-based products are totally noncombustible and all GigaCreteâ„¢ sand-based products will not support flame - thereby reducing the potential for hazardous off-gases associated with structure fires.
- Eco Friendly StuccoMax-E (environmental) contains 80% (by volume) recycled bottom ash filler material - and is the only stucco product on the market that utilizes bottom ash in such high content.
- Eco Friendly GigaFoam utilizes 100% waste ash as a filler material and is the only waste ash foam on the market.