SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings: Usage of Thermal Blocks in Walls

Yireikan Khapudang, General Manager, SRS Finlay

The continuing need to conserve energy has resulted in mandated requirements for the thermal performance of construction. Since it is impractical to measure all buildings or building components and systems for thermal properties, simple and accurate methods to reliably predict thermal performance are necessary. Design professionals must estimate the energy requirements associated with all types of building systems, including masonry, to select appropriate systems and to provide for economical heating and cooling design.

Building design and material properties influence thermal performance and energy consumption for residential and commercial buildings. Insulated wall, floor and roof systems provide an innovative combination of excellent thermal conductivity, thermal mass and low air-infiltration. This practical combination of properties in one system provides an excellent thermal insulation material and permits peak energy usage in the building to be shifted to off-peak hours, thus reducing operation cost for building users and owners, improving comfort of living and reducing the demand on power generation facilities. One can look at Substantial reduction in air conditioning tonnage and huge savings in monthly electricity bills up to 40%. It is very economical for centrally air-conditioned buildings, public utility structures, government buildings, schools, hospitals, theatres, shopping complexes, and so on.

Thermal Blocks
SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings
Thermal / Dow STYROFOAM (XPS)/Polystyrene insulated blocks are made of concrete consisting of selected aggregate and cement with extruded STYROFOAM (XPS). The Polystyrene/STYROFOAM (XPS) is specially designed and placed symmetrically during the time of moulding the blocks at wet stage of concrete.

Thermal blocks are high load bearing, fire resistant, excellent sound insulation and high thermal efficiency building concrete blocks.

The most standard sizes of thermal blocks with cavities are
  • Size 1: 400x200x200 mm (8")
  • Size 2: 400x250x200 mm (10")
Thermal Values of the blocks recorded at 35°C and 60% R.H.
  • U value: .362watt/m2 K
  • K value: .037 watt/m K
  • R value: 1.75 m2 K/ watt
Product Description
It is a STYROFOAM (XPS) sandwiched block where the STYROFOAM (XPS) is integrally locked symmetrically into concrete structure (incorporated at the wet stage of concrete itself) resulting in an excellent thermal insulation and bonding. This is a proven technology of two decades, widely used in Europe and Middle East.

F-24 C, SRS Finlay Egg Laying machines allow such arrangement in which profiled STYROFOAM (XPS) pieces are pre-fixed on the mould box where the semi dry mixture pours over the top. The profiled cut STYROFOAM (XPS) can be supplied by players like Dow chemical's who has started marketing the product in India extensively.

The use of block work allows structures to be built in the traditional masonry style with layers or courses of overlapping blocks. These cement hollow blocks are widely used for building infrastructure and require low maintenance. High dimensional accuracy and consistent finish make these blocks an ideal building material for both load bearing constructions as well as partition walls. These concrete hollow blocks are a better substitute to work faster to build a structure long lasting value.

Thermal Insulation
A typical production process and product description is shown below
SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings
SRS Finlay Energy Saving Buildings
The concept of insulated building is not new in India as there are number of green buildings which are rated as environment-friendly with LEED certifications. Insulated building material such as auto cleaved aerated concrete blocks or STYROFOAM (XPS) sheet insertion in between the cavity walls is widely practiced in India. However, the Insulating property of thermal blocks are far superior to aerated blocks, as it provides 4 times more insulation in terms of “K Value – Thermal Conductivity.” Though this value may not be the total parameter for an Architect/Engineer for the design of an energy efficient building, it forms one of the important key factors along with other material characteristics like block density, strength, ambient temperatures etc.

While specifying the most efficient materials and fittings, there are three ratings used for estimating heat loss/gain: the K rating, the R value, and the U value.
  • K Value – the lower the better (Thermal conductivity)
  • R value - the higher the better (Thermal resistance)
  • U value - the lower the better (Thermal Transmittance)
The difference in thermal performance between seemingly similar products can be dramatic, which is why it's so important to keep an eye on the R and U values. Normal 250 mm thermal concrete blocks have an R of 1.75 while an Aerated block will have an R of 0.46. A wall built of thermal concrete blocks will therefore insulate 4 times as much heat as a wall built of AAC blocks.

A brief comparison chart is shown below
Properties Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Block Dow’s STYROFOAM (XPS) Inserted Thermal Concrete Block
"K" Thermal Conductivity at 35°C and 60% R.H. 0.134 W/m.k° 0.037 W/m.k°
"R" Thermal resistance 0.46 M^2 K/W 1.75 m^2 K/W
Water Absorption Low Low
Average STYROFOAM (XPS) Density N/A 26 kg/m^3
"U" Thermal Transmittance Value 2.13 W/m^2 K 0.36 W/m^2 K
Compressive strength of the Blocks 3-4 N/mm^2 7.5-10 N/mm^2
Density 550-650 Kg/mm^3 1400-1500 Kg/mm^3
Fire Resistance High High

Any good builder should be able to calculate the R and U values for you and can advise you about the relative costs of different insulation options for achieving the lowest heat loss.

Advantages and limitations for usage of thermal blocks in walls
  • Provides guaranteed consistent insulation value
  • Permits excess moisture to escape
  • Allows easy installation of pipes, conduits, etc.
  • Improves dew point
  • Improves sound resistance
  • Eliminates concern of shrinkage, toxic fumes or odours
  • Improves the ability of blocks to resist wind driven rain.
  • Can be used above or below grade
The Insulate Wall System, like conventional concrete masonry units insulated with STYROFOAM (XPS), saves job site labour costs simply because all units are delivered with insulation already in the blocks. Construction of walls is exactly like normal concrete blocks – same mortar, same manpower & same productivity. No extra glues, chemicals, fixing materials or special fixtures. In addition:
  • No lost time or rework if inspection rejects the quality of on-site workmanship
  • Work by other trades is performed with little danger of damage to insulation
  • The block itself can be used as a bond beam or lintel eliminating the need to deliver several different types of blocks to the job site.
  • The actual cost of insulation is a firm figure, as compared to estimated values used when insulation material is site installed where labour efficiency may vary and where losses may be sustained due to damage or theft
Limitations: As is the case with Dow's STYROFOAM (XPS) product, it should not be exposed to temperatures in excess of 110°F for prolonged periods of time.

Frequently Asked Questions on Thermal Blocks

1. Is it very costly?
It is a very cost effective product, due to the nature of the properties; the product is costlier than masonry hollow block. When one considers long-term benefits thermo block is value for money and one time investment and lifelong savings. A thermal block of 400X250X200 mm may cost 80 - 90 (INR) in Mumbai Region

2. What about the compressive strength?
The Thermal block has the same compressive strength of a normal 8" Hollow Blocks Thermal Blocks are very well designed to give optimum insulation as well as mechanical strength.

3. Will not STYROFOAM (XPS) catch fire easily?
Since it is enclosed on all four sides by concrete mortar joints and is sandwiched between 62.5 mm thick concrete plates, no flame due to electrical short circuiting can spread in that air tight cell. As a material, Dow STYROFOAM (XPS) is classified as B1 class building Material when tested in accordance with German DIN 4102 Standards.

4. The handling of block may be delicate?
The block is very robust and due to the high shearing strength of STYROFOAM (XPS), it is very difficult to separate the insert from the block. It requires bare minimum handling care and the blocks should not be thrown around but handled in a proper way. It can be easily handled by SRS Finlay clamps/grab units.

5. What is the life of a polystyrene insert?
STYROFOAM (XPS) will easily outlast concrete as it is not bio-degradable.

6. What about water absorption?
Since the thermal block is basically a normal concrete block, the water absorption characteristics are the same as a normal concrete block. Also STYROFOAM (XPS) has very negligible water absorption characteristics as per DIN 53428.

7. What is the effect of termites, vermin & other types of insects and is Polystyrene harmful?

Facts about STYROFOAM (EPX) Insulated Blocks
• STYROFOAM (XPS) is the best available insulation material at present for usage in walls & roofs all over the world.
• The insulation properties are very superior if the STYROFOAM (XPS) is integrated into concrete at wet stage moulding/casting to have good bonding and avoid air gaps pockets to eliminate any chance for condensation.
• Researched data proves that ‘STYROFOAM (XPS) inserted’ concrete blocks are the most cost effective in terms of Thermal insulation as against Cavity wall, clay wall, autoclaved brick wall, Cavity wall with STYROFOAM (XPS) sheet and other type of insulation.

Dow's STYROFOAM (XPS) poses no health hazards and it is immune to insects, pests, plants and micro organisms.

8. What about end blocks (at the openings. E.g. doors, windows)?
Suitable end block designs can be developed.

9. What about continuity of insulation because of mortar joints?
Thermal Insulation continuity without any thermal bridge can be made. But it should be pointed out that in other Middle East countries full mortar across the faces & sides is applied and the thermal bridge loss is very much within acceptable limits.

NBMCW July 2011

Click Here
To Know More / Contact The Manufacturer
Please provide your details we will contact you as soon as possible
Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your Designation.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your City.
Please let us know your State.
Please let us know your Country.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please let us know your email address.
Please brief your query.

ACE Makes Waves with Launch of NX360° slew-cum-Pick ‘N’ Carry Crane

ACE, which believes in introducing new models in its pursuit of innovation and customer benefit, has once again expanded its product portfolio with the addition of next-generation intelligent cranes. The new NX-series of multiactivity cranes Read More ...

Yonkers Contracting Company boosts job site efficiency with Grove GRT880 on New York Route 17 road project

Yonkers Contracting Company (Yonkers) is using its recently acquired Manitowoc's Grove GRT880 on an infrastructure project along Route 17 in Harriman, New York. The project includes building a new bridge, a new interchange Read More ...

India’s Telehandler Market: Slow & Steady Rise

The Indian market for telehandlers is at a very nascent stage as awareness across sectors is still very limited. On the upside, demand has been increasing steadily, especially so from the infrastructure construction and mining segments Read More ...

Godrej Material Handling launches ‘Godrej RenTRUST’

Godrej Material Handling, a business of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., has launched Godrej RenTRUST, a new equipment rental brand that will provide 360-degree solutions to customers encompassing manpower, machine, fuel and maintenance. Read More ...

SUREKA: Transforming & Reengineering With Changing Technologies

SUREKA, a leading manufacturer of Material Handling Equipment for various industries and applications, is constantly transforming and re-engineering itself with the changing technologies. The company offers Single Girder Read More ...

Trio of Potain tower cranes supports Trilogy Limassol Seafront project

Two Potain MDT 269 J12s and one MDT 389 L16 tower crane are helping to construct the Trilogy Limassol Seafront in Limassol, Cyprus. The project comprises three 170 m high luxury apartment towers, along with work and relaxation Read More ...

JEHEL Launches Brand JEKON for Hi-Tech Knuckle Boom Telescopic Cranes – Truck Mounted, Railway & Ship

Started in 1995, Jaypee Engineering & Hydraulic Equipment (JEHEL) is an ISO 9001-2008 company and a one stop solution provider for customised and specialized Hydraulic Material Handling Equipment in India. The company is engaged Read More ...

SENNEBOGEN 895 E world's largest material handler

SENNEBOGEN presented the largest material handling machine ever produced. The new 895 E boasts an impressive operating weight of nearly 400 t and ranges of up to 40 m. With a total system output of over 750 kW, it gives Read More ...

Raimondi Showcases 3 Cranes - Luffing & Tower

Raimondi unveiled the new LR273 luffing crane, LRH174 hydraulic luffing, and an exclusive preview of the company's largest tower crane to date - the MRT573. Raimondi Cranes SpA, heritage manufacturer of precision heavy lifting Read More ...

PALFINGER focuses on digitalization and service

PALFINGER showcased the latest developments and innovations in the field of digitalization and service with the aim of demonstrating how much digital technology of the future is already packed into PALFINGER's high-tech Read More ...

Terex unveils new Crane and Lift (AWP) models

Terex Cranes' new 10-ton (11-U.S.-ton) class Terex® CTT 202-10 flat top tower crane delivers increased jobsite versatility, and offers three chassis options, budget to performance, with 3.8-m (12.5-ft), 4.5-m (14.8-ft) and 6-m Read More ...

SINOBOOM exhibits electric access solutions

SINOBOOM showcased six brand-new upgraded electric series products: the GTJZ0608S, a 6-meter electric scissor lift, the GTJZ1212, a 12-meter lithium battery scissor lift, the GTJZ0407SE and GTJZ1212E, a 4-meter and 12-meter Read More ...

Liebherr unveils several new products

Liebherr's new 8-axle mobile crane - LTM 1650-8.1, is designed to deliver maximum performance. It is the successor to the best-selling large crane of all time – with almost 600 units of the LTM 1500-8.1 have been delivered to date. Read More ...

Manitowoc: Significant developments

Manitowoc's new innovations at bauma included the biggest Potain topless crane, 3 new Grove all-terrain cranes, the mobile Potain Hup self-erecting crane, and 2 Grove rough-terrain cranes, The new Potain MDT 809, the largest Read More ...

Everest Engineering Safety is Key

We launched our Tower Crane Anti-Collision device in 2012 after making many modifications as per India's jobsite requirements. There were many problems because of frequent power failures at jobsites. The cranes, not Read More ...

Haulotte introduces HTL 3207 - its most compact telehandler

The compact and versatile telescopic handler HTL 3207 provides maximum efficiency on tight job sites with excellent manoeuvrability and significant work autonomy under optimal conditions of safety and comfort Read More ...
NBM&CW

New Building Material & Construction World

New Building Material & Construction World
MGS Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture

Modern Green Structures & Architecture
L&ST

Lifting & Specialized Transport

Lifting & Specialized Transport
II&TW

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week

Indian Infrastructure & Tenders Week