Changes in LEED Certification Program:
Find out about new levels of LEED certification at Hanley Wood's Residential Architect Web site.
Paradise can be inspirational. At least that's what Andrew Dennis discovered a few years ago.
Dennis, an architect and industrial designer, was charged with developing a plan for a non-toxic, fireproof, and hurricane-resistant Caribbean retirement home. The owner had an additional requirement: Materials must contain ingredients with a high percentage of recycled content with low embodied energy. And if that wasn't enough, the components had to fit in shipping containers and be assembled quickly onsite by unskilled laborers.
Thus evolved the idea for a new green line of cement-based products. After 30 years of designing products and buildings including hotels and casinos, Dennis is seeking a new legacy: He is advancing green technology in the construction industry.
He launched GigaCrete in 2008. All of the company's products include ingredients which usually end up in landfills. The recycled materials are mixed with GigaCrete's mineral cement formulation. The green products require less water for mixing. And with less portland cement, they have a smaller carbon footprint. This formulation also is lighter and easier to handle than conventional cement-based mixes.
The manufacturer produces an interior plaster coating, a stamped concrete overlay, and two products that are specifically formulated for insulating concrete forms (ICFs). All materials are pre-blended so contractors only add potable water at the jobsite.
Reviving an ancient art
“With PlasterMax-ICF, we are modernizing the ancient art of plastering with new, green technology,” says Dennis. The interior plaster system is a greener alternative to gypsum board. Installers apply the material directly on the ICF foam surface. By eliminating gypsum board, the design reduces a major source of volatile organic compound emissions and carcinogens.
A plastered ICF wall can add other green benefits: The walls are more energy-efficient and durable.
Installation can be a one- or two-step process. PlasterMax-ICF Base Coat Interior Veneer Plaster is mixed and applied with conventional plaster tools and techniques. It is designed for use with GigaCrete's PlasterMax-ICF Finish Coat Plaster, or alone as a fire barrier.