Until now, autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) was widely used in the construction industry mainly as a relatively simple (commodity) wall building material. The need and regulatory pressure for green, energy neutral buildings for residential housing and nonresidential constructions is becoming stronger every day. Consequently, we must challenge our construction designs and way of building to deal with increasing regulations, climatic and seismic conditions around world's geographical areas. This article presents new generation panel construction methods and a realized case study for a passive residential housing project designed with mid‐size modular AAC panels. The role and importance of this building method, applied with light‐ and heavy‐reinforcement panels, is also highlighted. The structural AAC panel design will be complemented and finished with autoclaved lightweight concrete (ALC) blocks, drywall sheets, and AAC partition panels. This partnership of building materials with installation integration at early stage of the construction process results in excellent insulation, efficient building, and supports HVAC.
The discussion topic of “Sustainable building solutions” or “Green building” is gaining more and more traction and importance in many countries through all layers of the society. It is not anymore a trend spoken of in developed building markets like Europe, USA, and Japan, but sustainable building has become a necessity on a global scale with countries like China, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa actively pursuing to build “greener” supported by regulatory changes to the local construction standards.
But what exactly makes a building “green” or sustainable?
A sustainable building is a building that, in its design, construction, and operation, creates a positive impact on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life. There are many features that can make a building “green.” Some of the key features, among others, include efficient use of energy, water, and other resources.
Use of renewable energy, such as solar energy.
Pollution and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of reuse and recycling.
Good indoor environmental air quality.
Use of materials that are nontoxic, ethical, and sustainable.
Consideration of the environment in design, construction, and operation.
Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design, construction, and operation.
A design that enables adaptation to a changing environment.
A design that makes a building future proof, short term and long term.
Taking into consideration the dynamics of the above features, one can conclude that green building requires a “Total Approach” that considers each component and element of a building, in relationship to the whole building picture, along with the impact on the environment, society, and economics around it. This “Total Approach” is rather complex, which requires architects, designers, engineers, suppliers, and, last but not least, product manufacturers to think creatively using systems integration throughout their product portfolio. Due to its key physical properties, autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) is already in the frontline for adding value to the green building concept. Any building can be a green building, whether it is a residential house, factory, hotel, school, office, hospital, or any other type of structure, provided it includes features as listed above. Also in this perspective, more than several decades ago the “Passive House” or “Energy Neutral House” was born. Quick changing climate conditions and global warming force us to take responsibility for our planet and the children of the future. There are several technology toolkits and assessment methodologies that can help designers, suppliers, and builders with energy neutral building (PHPP, Passive House Planning Package, BREEAM, Design PH).