Mother Earth Living

What is an Aeroblock?

Find out what an aerblock is and how to use the material.
By Natural Home Staff
March/April 2004

David Pearson is an architect and author based in the United Kingdom. His books include The New Natural House Book (Fireside, 1998) and New Organic Architecture (University of California Press, 2001). He is founder of the Ecological Design Association and former editor of EcoDesign magazine.


Content Tools

Related Content

Hemp-Lime Building Tested for Energy-Efficiency

Researchers at the University of Bath are all set to test the efficiency of the HemPod, a building m...

Turn a Vintage Tub Into an Outdoor Hot Tub

Don't have the budget for a hot tub? Check out how these homeowners saves money and space by plantin...

Already There

I’ve heard that the moment you plunk down a deposit for a vacation or buy yourself a plane ticket, a...

Canadians Develop Hemp Car

Canadian car manufacturers have developed an electric vehicle with a body made from hemp fiber.

Q: I recently learned about a building material called Aerblock, an aerated autoclave cement building block that has been used in Europe for many years and is only recently available in America. Does it really have both mass and insulating capabilities? I understand that it’s inert as far as outgassing or causing allergic reactions, but I have some concerns about the overall embodied energy. —Allison Elliot, Paonia, Colorado 

A: Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) is a new material to the North American market but has been used successfully for decades in Germany. It’s a strong, lightweight load-bearing block, somewhat like pumice, weighing about 25 to 40 pounds per cubic foot, compared with 130 pounds for standard masonry. It’s easy to work and can be sawed, drilled, nailed, and chiseled like wood, using woodworking tools. It offers a safe, highly fire-resistant structure and is both rot- and termite-resistant. The millions of air cells in AAC blocks, plus their thermal mass, make them natural insulators and very energy efficient. The material mass also gives walls excellent sound insulation.

As far as embodied energy goes, the ingredients (sand, lime, some portland cement and aluminum powder, gypsum and water) are on the high side, but AAC manufacturers claim they try to use recycled sources. From a health standpoint, ACC is an inert, nontoxic product that doesn’t outgas. However, some manufacturers use recycled fly ash, which can be radioactive.

Despite these advantages, it’s difficult to find masonry crews that are comfortable using the material. Hebel, one of the German originators that now produces AAC in the United States via Babb International, offers technical advice that is worth checking out. Links: Babb Lumber Company, AerBlock and Sider-Oxydro.

David Pearson is an architect and author based in the United Kingdom. His books include The New Natural House Book (Fireside, 1998) and New Organic Architecture (University of California Press, 2001). He is founder of the Ecological Design Association and former editor of EcoDesign magazine.








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today and save 50%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.