Changes in LEED Certification Program:
Find out about new levels of LEED certification at Hanley Wood's Residential Architect Web site.
One of the country's newest and greenest lines of cement-based products actually originated in a Caribbean retirement home.
Andrew Dennis, an architect and industrial designer, was charged with designing a non-toxic, fireproof, and hurricane-resistant facility. It had to have a high percentage of recycled content and low embodied energy. And the components had to fit in shipping containers and be assembled quickly onsite by unskilled laborers.
Thus evolved the idea for GigaCrete Inc., Dennis' green building materials company in Las Vegas. After 30 years of designing products and buildings including hotels and casinos, he is seeking a new legacy: advancing green technology in the construction industry.
GigaCrete launched its first cement-based finishing product last year. All of the company's products for commercial and residential use include non-silica-based sands and byproducts of coal combustion, fly ash and bottom ash, and recycled glass that usually end up in landfills. The products are comprised of one part GigaCrete cement binder and up to four parts filler (or 20% binder and 80% filler), which can be sand of different grain sizes or ash of various grades.
The recycled materials are mixed with GigaCrete's mineral cement formulation, which requires less water and yields less carbon dioxide in production than portland cement. These materials are lighter and easier to handle than conventional cement-based materials.
GigaCrete's products include interior plaster coating, a stamped concrete overlay, and two products specifically formulated for insulating concrete forms (ICFs). The products are pre-blended, so contractors only add potable water at the jobsite. The ICF coatings add to the green benefits of energy efficiency and durability already provided by ICFs
Reviving an ancient art
“With PlasterMax-ICF, we are bringing back the ancient art of plastering, but with new, green technology,” says Dennis. PlasterMax-ICF is a one- or two-coat interior plaster system that offers a greener alternative to gypsum board. It's applied directly over the ICF foam, reduces volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, and contains 35% recycled content–all without the carcinogens found in gypsum board.
PlasterMax-ICF Base Coat Interior Veneer Plaster is mixed and applied with conventional plaster tools and techniques. It is designed for use with Giga-Crete's PlasterMax-ICF Finish Coat Plaster or alone as a fire barrier.