Business

Wednesday 7 December 2016

CRH has reinvented the concrete block...

And it keeps in three times more heat than concrete

Published 17/05/2015 | 02:30

ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL: From left Tom Parlon, director-general of the Construction Industry Federation and Larry Byrne, managing director of Roadstone at the launch of Roadstone's new thermal liteblock system. Photo: Naoise Culhane
ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL: From left Tom Parlon, director-general of the Construction Industry Federation and Larry Byrne, managing director of Roadstone at the launch of Roadstone's new thermal liteblock system. Photo: Naoise Culhane

CRH subsidiary Roadstone has invented a revolutionary new type of energy-saving brick to replace concrete blocks that will help consumers to tackle escalating energy bills.

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The purple-tinged bricks keep in up to three times more heat than standard concrete blocks, a product which has seen little innovation until now.

The brick was invented by the company's research and development lab based in Dublin. R&D in the construction industry is finally beginning to recover after years of cuts.

The bricks can be used to help improve the building energy rating of homes and save consumers money via reduced energy bills. Improvements in energy ratings from A3 to A2 have been calculated for a number of house types using the blocks.

The product was inspired by new Irish construction laws which mean buildings must be constructed to be much more heat-saving than previously permitted.

Called the Roadstone Thermal Liteblock, they are designed to be used at key heat-loss points in buildings, called thermal bridging points, such as near ceilings and at floor or basement level.

The energy-efficient bricks do not need to be used everywhere, only at specific points in buildings, minimising costs.

About 10 to 15pc of the concrete blocks used to construct buildings need to be replaced by new blocks to achieve the required energy efficiencies. Typically a three bedroom semi detached house would require 4,000 concrete blocks.

The bricks are 40pc lighter than a standard concrete block which weighs 20kg. They can be treated and handled just like another block and suits traditional construction methods.

Roadstone's 46 Irish quarries have been stocked with the Thermal Liteblock, which will also be available in the UK. Like Glen Dimplex and Greencore, CRH has identified carbon-efficient materials as a growth sector and is investing in research and development in this area.

Low carbon warm-mix asphalt, for example, accounts for about 40pc of its US asphalt sales.

In other CRH news, last week the building materials supplier said it is partnering with Aboitiz Equity Ventures to buy the Philippines cement business of France's Lafarge.

EU antitrust regulators cleared CRH's planned €6.5bn purchase of a number of mostly European assets from rivals Lafarge and Holcim last month. It is buying assets in Europe, Canada and Brazil as well as the Philippines.

The tie-up is expected to be completed in July. Some analysts have suggested the company is overpaying for the assets.

Once the deal is completed, CRH - already Ireland's biggest company - will be propelled from being the world's fifth largest building materials company to being the third largest, just behind French group Saint Gobain.

Sunday Indo Business

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