Lowering our carbon footprint is important in order to mitigate climate change. The construction of buildings has a large environmental impact, and construction quality potentially affects human health. Sustainable construction and green buildings become more important with increasing natural resource depletion, rising energy costs, pollution and impacts on health.
SoLEED Building Systems Ltd. (United Kingdom) has developed light-weight, insulated concrete panels that reduce energy consumption and raw material use, thus affecting energy efficiency in buildings. With private equity funding for development, demonstration and commercial exploitation SoLEED has focused on manufacturing of light-weight insulated, concrete panels to lower production and ecological cost of construction materials.
Manufacturing waste from SoLEED Panels is negligible, construction waste is minimal, and the process uses less concrete per unit area than conventional concrete manufacturing processes.
Manufacturing takes place under environmentally clean conditions and SoLEED uses no CFCs, HCFCs or other ozone-depleting substances during production. SoLEED panels are manufactured by casting in a reusable form that is cured in a controlled environment and then transported and lifted into place on the construction site. The form used for casting at the SoLEED facility can be reused hundreds to thousands of times before they need to be replaced, which reduces costs when compared with on-site cast production.
The light-weight concrete elements in SoLEED Panels have a comprehensive strength up to 40MPa and SoLEED Panel buildings have a life-time of 150+ years. In addition, SoLEED Panels eliminate air infiltration through the wall assembly, significantly reducing draft and cold spots, and thus reduce energy needs for heating and cooling. The high structural and thermal performance results in energy savings of 30% or more. SoLEED Panels are strongly sound insulating, fire resistant, and mold and moisture resistant.
The system of SoLEED Panels is simple, low-tech and easy to build with. The panels provide structure, insulation and easy fixing of interior walls, load bearing walls, ballistic resistant walls and facades cladding, all of which are contained in the same process. Preparing the walls of a medium sized home usually takes only 10 days to complete.
Why did it work?
With an increasing need to find more environmentally friendly solutions to reduce climate impacts, while improving living standards, there is a demand for more sustainable design in the construction industry. With the goal of being the industry leader in environmental responsibility, SoLEED has created a name for itself in the construction industry. It is a highly knowledge-driven company that focuses on environmental, cost effective and innovative solutions, offering their customers special products of the highest quality. By using their expertise and knowledge of light concrete materials, chemical additives, and nanotechnology, they have been able to develop and deliver customized products with increased performance at reduced costs.
The concept of SoLEED Panels is estimated to have reached level 9 on the TRL scale. The product is in its final form and is now ready to been introduced and spread to other markets. With the support of well known Universities in US and Europe, recent research has shown the potential of further improving the concept through nanotechnology solutions. Developing cement and concrete-related nanotechnology will therefore have sustained and important impact on the future of the construction industry.