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By Amity Delaney
June 25, 2018
With growing awareness of the harmful effects that some construction projects can have on the environment, the use of environmentally-friendly building materials, such as aerated concrete, is becoming a burgeoning industry.
We spoke with Jim Bindon, Managing Director of Big River Industries, an Australian manufacturer and distributor of a diverse range of timber and building products, about how the company’s products offer a more sustainable approach to construction and what the future trends in the sustainable materials space are going to be.
A Concrete Approach
Big River, which sells a range of building materials, including environmentally sustainable products, including materials like steel formwork, timber flooring, and aerated concrete, has developed MaxiWall and MaxiFloor. These two are Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) products that provide construction companies with more sustainable building materials for their projects.
“These products are kinder to the environment and provide a superior home living experience at a competitive cost,” says Bindon.
MaxiWall and MaxiFloor were launched in 2017 and 2018 respectively. AAC products such as these use raw materials to help reduce waste and the damage done to the environment, in comparison to other more common materials.
“Using reduced raw materials helps to reduce around 30 per cent of environmental waste as compared to traditional concrete. It also reduces 50 per cent of the typical greenhouse gas emissions,” says Bindon.
MaxiWall and MaxiFloor are also pollutant-free materials and contain no toxic substances or odours. AAC also has other features that add to its appeal as a building material.
“With four times the great thermal resistance than standard house bricks and concrete slab flooring, the amount of energy required to heat or cool a property is greatly reduced. This providing further savings to homeowners and ongoing environmental benefits,” notes Bindon.
What is more, AAC is a 100 per cent non-combustible building material when installed with approved systems, improving the safety of construction developments. Also, its light weight and reduced cost, in comparison to the traditional use of concrete in construction, results in safer and easier installation; overall, it helps lead to faster completion times for projects.
The Future of the Sustainable Material Space
There is an increased focus in the construction industry on being environmentally conscious. In 2017, the Green Building Council of Australia gave 37 per cent of all business-district office space in Australia a Green Star, its sign of construction that upholds their values. It also predicts some 1.3 million people visit a Green Star-rated shopping centre each day.
Such efforts have amplified the demand for sustainable products. Australian homeowners and property investors are also increasingly choosing environmentally conscious construction projects, which includes the building materials used in such projects.
Environmentally sustainable building materials already have a long history of uptake overseas. AAC has been used as a building material in Europe for more than 70 years — and the popularity in Australia is growing substantially so the demand will not waver.
“The popularity of AAC in Australia has grown significantly since its introduction here 25 years ago, and all market indicators suggest that this strong growth will continue,” says Bindon.
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