As buildings in use are responsible for 36% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, the most important function for any material must be its ability to contribute to improving the energy efficiency of those buildings.
Used primarily for housebuilding, our aircrete blocks, with their inherent thermal efficiency, low thermal bridging and efficient airtightness, make a positive contribution to the energy efficiency of new homes.
We support a “fabric first” philosophy. This means that we believe energy efficiency should be built into the fabric of a house so that it remains effective for the lifetime of the building. We believe this is a better option than relying on technologies that are either unproven over the long term, or that rely on the behaviour of the building occupants for their effect.
The millions of tiny air bubbles trapped within a Celcon Block provide a wide range of benefits including excellent thermal insulation, which reduces energy use within a building.
When combined with other building materials such as brick and insulation products, extremely low U-Values can be achieved, easily meeting the requirements of the energy aspects of the UK's Building Regulations (such as Part L in England).
High performance buildings
When used as part of our specialised Thin-Joint System, it’s possible to build airtight structures extremely efficiently. Our blocks have been used as the basis of both Passivhaus certified homes and zero carbon buildings.
In fact, as long ago as 2007 H+H aicrete was used as the basis for the demonstration zero carbon house constructed at the Building Research Establishment (BRE).
BRE has also demonstrated that the use of aircrete can significantly reduce heat loss at thermal bridges within a building, such as at the junctions of walls and floors. Being of a relatively high mass compared to lightweight timber framed structures, walls built with aircrete can provide a high degree of thermal mass helping to create a comfortable internal environment in the building.
But even as the list of increasingly stringent regulations for new build homes grows, there doesn’t appear to be any official guidance requiring a minimum lifespan once built.
The Green Guide to Housing Specification attempts to determine a 60-year design life seems to be the accepted norm, but this may be a somewhat arbitrary figure.
The fact is, facing a growing population, if we continue to build houses at our current rate, any house built today will need to last for many, many multiples of 60 years.
From a sustainability perspective, to determine a new building’s impact on the environment, we are asked to consider the embodied as well as the operational carbon footprint, but this can only be done if it is considered over the lifespan of the building. Longevity is a major issue to ensure a house is as sustainable as it can be.
At H+H, we make building longevity as well as energy efficiency an objective when it comes to developing our blocks. The complete life cycle of an aircrete block is indeed an extremely long one, with a life expectancy of some 150 years, well in excess of the Green Guide to Housing Specification’s 60 years. During that time, it doesn’t emit any harmful substances or require preservatives to maintain performance.