e-Crete: An Aerated Version of Concrete Blocks
We recently featured a home with "aerated concrete" blocks, that you might want to glance at before we get into the block technology. A common brand in aerated concrete blocks is E-Crete, makers of structural concrete block with high insulating and sound dampening performance. Not so aerated as to become excessively large, these blocks are highly flame resistant, and perform well in load bearing walls. That means it may not be necessary to add a foam or fiberglass inner covering to achieve peak energy savings. According to the spec sheets, an exernal vapor barrier also is not needed, which means skipping the VOC coat or barrier sheet. Less stuff all around.The history is fascinating. Aerated concrete blocks "have been used in most European countries for more than 80 years as well as in the Far and Middle East for the past 40 years, and in Australia and South America for over 20 years. AAC has been manufactured and used in the US since the mid 90's. Structures built over 75 years ago are still standing today and continue to perform well and require little maintenance". Further evidence that the good old USA is the last to wake up to energy saving innovations. Most likely that's because energy has for so long been relatively cheaper than those places where aerated blocks have already penetrated the market.
Environmental Peformance Summary
"The energy consumed in the production process is only a fraction compared to the production of other materials.The manufacturing process emits no pollutants and creates no by-products or toxic waste products.
E-Crete is manufactured from common and abundant natural raw materials. The finished product is twice the volume of the raw materials used, making it extremely resource-efficient and environmentally friendly".
Thinking of a New Orleans or Mississippi rebuild with traditional facade details? Apparently this stuff can be successfully carved. If anyone has tried that we'd love to hear about it.