Thermo Eco Block

Anything to do with environmental building projects.
Post Reply
User avatar
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 293
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:16 am
Location: North East Co. Galway - Ireland

Thermo Eco Block

Post: # 43253Post Camile
Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:19 pm

Hi everyone,

We are currently on the "design" process of an extension on our cottage.

And I was looking at these:

To me they sound pretty good because I will try to build it myself, and these sound like an all in one option, cavity wall with insulation, and all that eco-friendly.

What do people in the know think about them ?


User avatar
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 2029
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 8:50 am
Location: Nr Heathfield, East Sussex

Post: # 43270Post Martin
Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:20 pm

never come across them before - but am a bit puzzled - how can something made with concrete be claimed to be 100% recyclable? :roll:
I have come across something similar, but a lot lower-tech - papercrete!
If you Google it up, you'll find several US sites on the subject (and it's probably a lot cheaper) :cooldude: - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.
Amateurs encouraged - very keen prices and friendly helpful service!

User avatar
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1905
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 4:45 pm
Location: Urban Berkshire, UK (one day I'll find the escape route)

Post: # 43275Post Muddypause
Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:07 pm

Well, I've never heard of this specific product before, but it looks fairly interesting. I suspect it's main advantage would be in its thermal performance - it's probably a pretty good insulator.

In terms of the greenness of its manufacture, it is a bit worrying to read that they think concrete is a natural product. Presumably the 'wood chip aggregate concrete' means concrete that uses wood instead of stones. I'd quite like to see some more details about this before I'd use them. Normally, organic material is avoided in making concrete - there are issues that can compromise the integrity of the concrete if it is included in the mix. This all may imply that the wood chips are treated in some way to ensure they don't rot, of attract insects, etc. Or maybe I've just misunderstood what they are saying. Mind you, people build with papercrete, so maybe my concerns are unfounded.

And I can't see any description of what the insulation is made of - I would suspect polystyrene or polyurathane. But I guess this would go against their claim that the product is completely recyclable - concrete can be reused as aggregate (though I don't know about wood chip concrete), but what about the insulation?

On the plus side, they look easy to build with, and proably fairly quick, too, which can make savings in terms of both energy and money.

They remind me a little of styrene wallforms, which are hollow polystyrene blocks - very light - that stack and interlock together. When the wall is up, you fill the hollows by pouring in concrete. Very quick and easy, good thermal properties. Have a look at Styro Build or Beco Wallforms as a couple of examples.

You might also be interested in SIPs - Structural Insulation Panels. These are made up of a sandwich of two sheets of plywood, or OSB, with a layer of polysomething insulation inbetween. The panels are big (made up according to you plans, with windows and doors pre-cut), and slot together tongue & groove fashion. They are structural elements, as well as insulation, so no need for framing. This means the shell can be built very quickly, maybe only a few hours, and again the thermal qualities are good. Have at look at this one.

My favoured option (as you may have seen elsewhere) is strawbale.

As with any building, don't forget that the shell is only part of the story. Even with a conventional build, getting the shell up usually only marks the half way stage. This means that while the shell structure does merit a lot of consideration, there are lots of other things to think about too.

Ignorance is essential

Post Reply