If you would like to build a structure that is environmentally friendly and sustainable then EZ StackBlocks wall systems are an excellent building alternative.
Global warming is a direct result of harmful gas emissions released into the earth’s atmosphere. By using the combination of proper extruded polystyrene insulation on the internal / external walls and concrete EZ StackBlocks thermal mass. This effective combination of materials minimizes temperature fluctuations by absorbing and storing heat to make a superb wall structure.
This combination of materials equate to an average of approximately 30 – 50% reduction in energy consumption for heating and cooling resulting in an equivalent reduction in harmful emissions.
The following Comments are from “ConcreteNetwork.com” written by Anne Balogh
WHAT MAKES CONCRETE A SUSTAINABLE BUILDING MATERIAL?
Green building is the concept of constructing homes and buildings we need today without depleting resources for future generations. In the new world of sustainable building, information about the strength, durability, and indestructible nature of concrete as a resourceful building material is emerging. Amid the teardown-and-replace mentality still pervasive in the world today, concrete stands out defiantly. Try to replace concrete with an alternative building material, and you'll be hard pressed to find a substitute possessing the same thermal qualities, design flexibility, and permanence.
Fortunately, a paradigm shift is taking place in attitudes about resource conservation and sustainability. More builders and homeowners are now embracing green building, and concrete is emerging as a champion rather than a rebel.
WHAT MAKES CONCRETE A SUSTAINABLE BUILDING MATERIAL?
Concrete is a friend of the environment in all stages of its life span, from raw material production to demolition, making it a natural choice for sustainable home construction. Here are some of the reasons why, according to the Portland Cement Association and the Environmental Council of Concrete Organizations:
Resource efficiency. The predominant raw material for the cement in concrete is limestone, the most abundant mineral on earth. Concrete can also be made with fly ash, slag cement, and silica fume, all waste byproducts from power plants, steel mills, and other manufacturing facilities.
Durability. Concrete builds durable, long-lasting structures that will not rust, rot, or burn. Life spans for concrete building products can be double or triple those of other common building materials.
Thermal mass. Homes built with concrete walls, foundations, and floors are highly energy efficient because they take advantage of concretes inherent thermal massor ability to absorb and retain heat. This means homeowners can significantly cut their heating and cooling bills and install smaller-capacity HVAC equipment.
Reflectivity. Concrete minimizes the effects that produce urban heat islands. Light-colored concrete pavements and roofs absorb less heat and reflect more solar radiation than dark-colored materials, such as asphalt, reducing air conditioning demands in the summer.
Ability to retain stormwater. Paved surfaces tend to be impervious and can block natural water infiltration into the soil. This creates an imbalance in the natural ecosystem and leads to problems such as erosion, flash floods, water table depletion, and pollution. Pervious concrete is a special type of structural concrete with a sponge-like network of voids that water passes through readily. When used for driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and other pavements, pervious concrete can help to retain stormwater runoff and replenish local water supplies.
Minimal waste. Concrete can be produced in the quantities needed for each project, reducing waste. After a concrete structure has served its original purpose, the concrete can be crushed and recycled into aggregate for use in new concrete pavements or as backfill or road base.
WHY CONCRETE IS A HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE
On average, we spend 90% of our time indoors—and most of that time we are in our own homes, according to Angela Dean, author of Green By Design. Yet, we are increasingly using products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in some cases creating indoor air quality that is 20 to 30 times more toxic than outdoor air, she warns.
The Healthy House Institute reports that indoor air pollution is the cause of about 50% of illnesses. Common sources of this pollution include outgassing from toxic paints and finishes, carpeting, manufactured wood products containing glues high in formaldehyde, dust mites, mold spores, mildew, and some cleaning products.
When it comes to poor indoor air quality, carpeting is one of the worst offenders. New synthetic carpeting can outgas over 100 different VOCs. And whether made of synthetic or natural materials, carpet is difficult to clean and becomes a haven for dust particles, pollutants, and bacterial growth. Tens of millions of microorganisms can be found in a square foot of carpeting. Carpet can also be a major source of mold, especially if it becomes wet and the water isn't removed completely.
Concrete floors, stained with nontoxic pigments, are a healthier alternative to carpeting because they do not emit harmful VOCs and are easy to sweep clean. In fact, VOC emissions from concrete building products are much lower than those for most other building materials, according to PCA. The use of natural lime-cement plaster wall finishes and concrete countertops can also significantly reduce total VOC concentrations inside a home.
Exposure to toxic mold in homes and buildings has been blamed for ailments ranging from headaches to severe respiratory infections and immune system disorders. Mold can thrive on any organic material, especially in warm, moist, humid conditions. In addition to carpeting, mold can feed on drywall and wood studs, joists, and wall sheathing. Concrete floors and walls won't support the growth of toxic mold.
DO SUSTAINABLE HOMES COST MORE?
Many homeowners assume that building green will cost more. But sustainable homes can actually save money when you factor in life-cycle costs, utility expenses, maintenance needs, and occupant health.
Building exterior walls using ICFs can save hundreds of dollars a year in heating and cooling costs. How much you save depends on the size of the house and climate conditions. The larger the house, the greater the savings. Homes in colder climates will save more in heating expenses, and those in warmer climates will have the lowest cooling costs. You can also install smaller heating and cooling equipment, which can put hundreds or even thousands of dollars back into your pocket.
Although the cost to construct an ICF home is slightly higher than for a comparable wood-frame home (about 2% to 4%), the added upfront expense is quickly paid back through the savings in monthly energy costs. This potential savings has become a key selling point with homeowners, according to PCA market research. A 2002 report found that 85% of homeowners would spend 1% more for an ICF home, while 23% would shell out 5% more. In 2002, nearly 15% of all single-family American homes were built with exterior above-ground concrete wall systems, with the percentage forecasted to jump to 25% in 2005.
Other ways sustainable homes can save money over time: