NAHB IBS Show Home Exterior Eats Smog, Is Self-Cleaning
The exterior concrete walls of The New American Home incorporate photocatalytic technology that eats smog and is self-cleaning.
The new photocatalytic cement technology used for the exterior of the 2007 New American Home on display at the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando, Fla. earlier this year eats smog and decomposes the air-borne microorganisms that would soil its façade, giving the home a self-cleaning exterior.
Under development for almost a decade by Italcementi, the world’s fifth-biggest cement producer, TX Active, the photocatalytic technology used on The New American Home, looks like traditional cement-based stucco walls. TX Active blends the admixtures TX Arca cement and TX Aria, a binder for paints, mortars, plasters and renders, into a traditional cement mix. Both admixtures have pollution-eating properties.
TX Arca destroys pollutants that come into direct contact with the material and keep the building’s surface area clean, without the need for cleaning agents or other building maintenance.
TX Aria breaks down airborne pollutants, such as smog, that pollute the air around the surface of the building. TX Active will not only reduce maintenance to limit the overall energy footprint, it will reduce the pollution in the air around the home.
When used on streets in Italy, TX Active has reduced nitric oxide on those streets by 60%.
The insulated precast concrete wall system provides The New American Home with an energy-efficient thermal envelop.
Other Cement-Based Benefits in The New American Home
Concrete and cement-based products and technologies have been widely used in every New American Home at IBS for the last four years. Their use this year has resulted in a wide array of energy-efficient and sustainable design elements that streamlined the construction process, created economies in long-term maintenance and did not compromise the home’s aesthetics.
The products used in the 2007 home and their benefits include:
Insulated Precast Concrete — Increased Energy Efficiency
The backbone of The New American Home is an insulated precast concrete wall system that provides the structure of the home with a solid thermal envelope. Operating The New American Home will require less overall energy for heating and cooling, significantly reducing the environmental footprint of the building over its life cycle.
Compared to wood and steel, concrete structures allow minimal temperature fluctuations due to concrete's high thermal mass. Because of its properties, the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems were designed with smaller-capacity equipment, saving money and resources.
To provide additional insulation, a continuous layer of Styrofoam was sandwiched between precast slabs throughout the structure for optimal energy performance.
Fiber-Cement Siding — Won’t Rot, Warp or Buckle
Fiber-cement siding, a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to wood siding, also was used in The New American Home to complement the stucco and provide a durable exterior.
Factory-built precast concrete walls result in tighter tolerances.
This sustainable application of cement-based materials has the appearance of wood, but none of the maintenance drawbacks of traditional wood siding.
Now used in about 10% of residential home building, fiber-cement siding will not rot, buckle or warp; is resistant to termites and fire; and has been proven to hold paint for a longer duration than wood siding.
Tighter Tolerances, Less Waste, Less On-Site Labor
Because precast concrete walls are built in factories and then shipped to job sites, they are manufactured using more precise mixture proportions and result in tighter tolerances, fit and finish.
The manufacturing process also significantly reduces the amount of waste in the construction process and speeds up wall construction. Less labor is required, compared with traditional wood framing.
This combination of benefits can reduce the overall cost of homes using precast concrete walls.
Read More About TX Active
For more information about TX Active, read the article, “TX Active, the new photocatalytic cement technology for self-cleaning and pollution-reducing concrete, now available in North America,” by ESSROC, a leading cement producer based in Nazareth, Pa. and part of the Italcementi group.
Photos by James F. Wilson
Attend the Concrete Technologies Tour on May 6-8
The latest advances in concrete construction, production, materials and design will be showcased at the 2007 Concrete Home Building Council Concrete Technologies Tour in Minneapolis on May 6-8.
The tour will feature educational programs, networking and behind-the-scenes tours of six cement-based building materials and manufacturing facilities.
For more information and to register, visit www.nahb.org/concretetour.
‘Concrete at Home’ Available at BuilderBooks.com
“Concrete at Home,” available through BuilderBooks.com, offers tips on incorporating concrete architectural elements such as counters, sinks, columns and water pieces into a project.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
Attend the 2007 National Green Building Conference
Attend the 2007 National Green Building Conference in St. Louis on March 25-27.
The conference includes educational sessions on construction, the environment, conservation, energy, recycling, finance and marketing — with real world applications.
In addition, there will be a green building/technology tour of green building projects in the St. Louis area.
Onsite registration is available.
Click here for conference information, or visit www.nahb.org/greenbuilding on the NAHB Web site to learn more about green building.