Concrete come fly with me!

Even as a builder you have a tendency not to realize the complexities of products in a modern home. One that I’m sure few of us understand well is concrete. OK so you mix some sand and cement together, add a bit of water and boom there it is.

Hmmm when you dig deeper, you’ll be surprised how complex it is! Cement referred to sometimes as Portland cement, is made from natural raw materials like Calcium Carbonate (Limestone, coral or Chalk), Silica, Alumina and Iron oxide (mainly in the forms of clay and shale) which is all ground together, then feed into a rotating kiln. These kilns reach an approx temperature of 1500 degrees Celsius. Out the other side comes ceramic like balls that are known as Clinker! The clinker then cools slightly and then is finely ground with a small amount of gypsum and then we have Cement. Wow there a process you take for granted.

By the way, Portland cement doesn’t come from the American city Portland. The name comes from the large production hub in the early 1900’s which was on isle of Portland area in Dorset, England. The raw material early year was made from Portland Stone, lots more pointless trivia for this weekend’s BBQ for you.

Australia now produces some of its own cement which is good but as you can see its quite and intensive process, both from a raw resources and a power and energy point of view.

So what’s being done to change that?
Companies like Boral are working towards refining the processes to change the product mixes to reduce the impacts.

So like what?
In the innovation house we are using a product called envirocrete.

How is it different?
Well in its concrete mix, it uses 70 % cement and 30% Fly ash, then adds them to the other parts like aggregates and water to make concrete.

What’s fly Ash?
It’s a waste material from coal fired power stations (of which we have a few of in NQ!) .

That’s pretty cool!

So buy using some waste materials we get good reduction in our impact (read Carbon emissions) and the product is great, it’s Grey and Hard, everything you want in concrete.

Come and check it out at some stage when we get it finished.

Darren

Week 1

The ribbon has been cut and we are off and racing! The Innovation House is under way (woohoo!) Today is a very exciting milestone for all of us involved in the project.

Week 1 has kicked off with building essentials 101 commencing. Trenches, plumbing, and the slab. We’re using a new type of concrete in slab for Innovation House called Envirocrete. It’s a part recycled product that decreases our carbon emissions impact. So it makes us feel good, and is good for the environment too!

We also launched the Innovation House project by hosting a media release at the house. Darren, along with Lisa Kayrooz (Ergon Energy), Mark Robinson (Townsville City Council), Michael Cook and Morten Moxnes (James Cook University Honour Students) were in attendance to speak with the media about the project and our aims.

You can read the Townsville Bulletin’s article here http://bit.ly/RGd0oq
You can watch Channel 7’s story at http://on.fb.me/UHwyx6

If you’d like to keep informed about up coming events remember to join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/innovationhousetsv