Offering an alternative to traditional brick, block and timber-frame construction, Durisol is a premium quality recycled, renewable, and energy efficient material. Apprentice Builder’s Patrick Fennelly went to a training day at Highbury College in Portsmouth to see how the product is used.
Due to the growing importance of sustainable materials in construction, it is essential that the brickies that will be the future of the construction industry are educated on the building products they are likely to be using and the benefits of those products. Made from recycled waste wood that is mixed with Cenin Cement and OPC, Durisol’s sustainability means that it is becoming one of the fundamental materials used in construction and the manufacturers aim is to provide excellent living environments while reducing the use of the world’s precious resources.
Kicking off the training day, Construction and Training Manager, Derek Atkins, informed the Highbury students about Durisol’s energy efficiency. He explained how the improved thermal performance of the blocks mean that it costs less to heat or cool buildings due to a reduction on the amount of energy being used. During the presentation, statistics were given that proved the materials efficiency and again reiterated why Durisol has become an integral part of future construction.
- U Values – Durisol walls have values without additional insulation down to 0.15 W/m²K. They can easily be reduced further by external cladding of extra insulation but this is only likely to be necessary if Passivhaus standards are required.
- Thermal Bridging – Durisol units are designed so that insulation is external to the concrete core and wraps around the full envelope even at the corners. Consequently average PSI values in the range of 0.04 to 0.08 are standard depending on design. SAP calculations are far more sensitive to the movement in PSI values compared to relatively large changes in wall, floor or roof U Values. At the Code for Sustainable Homes level 4 this will significantly reduce or remove the requirement for renewables.
- Thermal Mass – The internal face of a Durisol wall will be 40 mm of woodcrete followed by 120 mm of concrete helping a building to achieve high levels of thermal mass. The main benefit of this is in the smoothing of temperature movements through the walls and greatly enhanced acoustic properties.
- Durisol walls contribute to SAP with a BRE Green Guide A rating which reflects the low resource usage required to produce the product
- Fire resistance – Durisol units attain European levels of fire resistance which are considerably higher than their UK counterparts. Durisol woodcrete will not burn or rot due to the mineralisation process during its manufacture and have maintained their integrity in heat tests of 1,100 degrees for over 4 hours without igniting.
After learning about the benefits of using Durisol blocks, the Highbury college apprentices were invited to get stuck in and learn how to use the alternative construction material. Prior to the training day the students had very little knowledge of the product, however, just minutes after the demonstration, a number of the lads were constructing a wall using the Durisol blocks with ease.
Despite it being discussed as a material that will dominate construction in the future, invented in Switzerland, Durisol has been available for over 60 years and has production facilities in Austria, Canada, North America, Holland, Israel, Russia and Japan and as explained on www.durisoluk.com, “Durisol products have been installed worldwide, where they have withstood hot and humid climates, disasters (fire, bombs, hurricanes, earthquakes), freezing and thawing – all without loss of performance or damage.”
The Highbury College students soon understood the importance of Durisol blocks and after being shown examples of domestic and commercial projects in which the material had been used, as well as gaining an experiential education with a hands on demonstration, they became confident in their product knowledge and were keen to apply what they had learned in the future.
“Durisol cement-bonded wood fibre insulated concrete forms are porous, lightweight and very durable. They do not rot nor decay. Our insulated concrete forms are also vermin and insect proof and will not support fungus growth.”
For further information on Durisol visit www.durisoluk.com