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PRECAST

AERATED

CONCRETE

The Power of Speed

by

Head Office

Tel: +971 2 676 77 11 Fax: +971 2 676 77 22


Corniche Road Alia Tower P.O.Box 28768 Abu Dhabi
Musaffah

Tel.: +971 2 550 00 11 Fax: +971 2 550 00 33


ICAD 1 M41 P.O.Box: 28768 Abu Dhabi UAE

info@bena.ae

www.bena.ae

UAE

On land and in the sea, our forefathers lived and survived


in this environment. They were able to do so only because
they recognized the need to conserve it, to take from it
only what they needed to live, and to preserve it for
succeeding generations.

His Highness, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,


Founding father of the United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi, February 1998.

CONTENTS
Intro
Production of PAC
Life Cycle Sustainability
Building with PAC

2-9
10-12
13
14-16

I N T R O
The Concept of Sustainability in Construction
The environmental sustainability movement emerged in the 1960s and 1970s in response to concerns that
the way in which we were developing our planet, would irreversibly damage the environment.
By the late 1980s sustainable development was defined as Development which meets the needs of the
present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

In the years since, building in a manner that minimizes impact on the natural environment has been the
challenge of the current generation of designers, engineers, developers, contractors and building owners.
Sustainable building aims to:
Reduce carbon emissions to the atmosphere (slowing pollution and resulting climate change)
Decrease construction energy and goods transportation energy
Decrease raw material use, preserving non - renewable resources
Decrease building material manufacturing energy, toxicity and waste
Create thermally efficient structures through design and material choices
Protect the natural environment and biodiversity at each building phase
Buildings and the communities they form, also need to be financially sustainable and socially sustainable
(i.e. relevant to the needs of the occupants).

Precast Aerated Concrete being manufactured in Abu Dhabi.

Good Design Starts with Choosing the Right Material


Autoclaved, Precast Aerated Concrete (PAC) is one of the few building materials which can lay claim to truly
meeting the aims of a sustainable building product. It has been used successfully in all climatic conditions
throughout the world, since its invention in the late 1920s. For many decades, PAC products have been
used to make environmentally friendly, green buildings - long before we even had a term to explain it.
3

CE M E NT
German Emarati Company - BENA produces PAC in a state of the art facility in Musaffah, Abu Dhabi. In an
effort to reduce the overall energy consumption of the United Arab Emirates, BENA is embracing the concept
of sustainable development the ability to build the facilities and structures we need today without depleting
resources for the future.
BENA offers the widest range of PAC products, building systems and support services available
in the UAE. At all stages of manufacture, transportation and installation, BENA is committed to the principles
of environmental responsibility, recycling and sustainability in raw material use, construction practices and
life cycle energy reductions. PAC offers outstanding value for money and environmental peace of mind.
Precast Aerated Concrete (PAC) is an insulating, low energy product which provides an environmentally
responsible building system, coupled with affordability, design flexibility, speedy construction and great looks.

Measuring Sustainability
Quantifying how sustainable your building is can be a challenge, because it is difficult to determine the level
of energy use and carbon emitted to make a structure and provide for its ongoing energy needs.
Assessments need to look at a number of environmental, economic, social and safety issues and take a
long-term view on when and how resources should be applied for the common good.
Measuring the amount of energy consumed in the manufacture of a product, from the start till we reach the
end result; must take into account the journey of the materials from sources such as mining, transport to the
production plant, any processing energy and numerous calculations of electrical, transport fuel and other
energy expenditure to arrive at a finished product.
Some materials are dense and heavy, others light and low volume. Energy assessments should
consider whether the likely end use is in a low or a high mass/ volume ratio so energy used per
kilogram and energy used per cubic meter should be considered. The following graphs and tables
show that compared to conventional concrete and masonry, PAC uses less material and less
manufacturing energy.
4

E NERGY USED TO CREATE BUILDING PRODUCTS


(E NERGY CONSUMPTION - KWH PER M3 OF PRODUCT)
kWh/m3

900

900
800

650

700
600
423

500

300

400

250

300
200
100
0

Clay Bricks

Concrete

Concrete
Blocks

Sand - Lime
Bricks

BENA - PAC

RAW MATERIALS USED IN BUILDING PRODUCTS


(KG OF RAW MATERIAL PER M3 OF PRODUCT)
kg/m3
2500

2200
1800

2000

1500
1500

1150

1000
500
500

Concrete

Clay Bricks

Concrete
Blocks

Sand - Lime
Bricks

BENA - PAC

Statistics
The United Arab Emirates may only contribute half a percent of the worlds carbon emissions, according to
2006 estimates, however this volume comes from a comparatively small population. Unfortunately, this
places the UAE in second place behind Qatar, as the largest producer of carbon emissions per capita. The
majority of the energy, including the creation of electricity in our country, comes from the burning of fossil
fuels (oil, gas and their byproducts). This is what creates a large proportion of our carbon output.
Carbon emission is the largest threat to the environment, responsible for pollution and climate change. It is
estimated that buildings contribute approximately 40% of global carbon emissions. We therefore need to
set a target to reduce emissions in construction processes and create habitable spaces that do not need
high energy input to keep them at comfortable operating temperatures.

Energy efficient villas under construction using Precast Aerated Concrete walls, floors, lintels and roofs.

Air-Conditioning Energy in UAE


Air conditioning the buildings of Abu Dhabi uses vast amounts of electrical energy, according to studies and
reports from Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau and a variety
of government and scientific bodies, which cover the electricity consumption for the Emirate.
Peak electricity demands, year upon year, can be tracked against the climate data for external ambient
temperature, with the highest electricity loads required in summer months. As temperature rise, electricity
consumption increases to match the temperature curves on the graphs, suggesting air conditioning to cool
the buildings may be responsible for up to 70% of electricity use during these peak times.
The studies showed that high rise flats in Abu Dhabi use energy levels of 7,000 to 12,000 KwH per annum,
which is comparable to air conditioned stand alone homes in the southern USA, but twice as much as the
more thermally efficient Singaporean high rise apartments, which range between 3,000 and 7,000
KwH/annum. Flats and apartments benefit from having centralized A/C units and only a few external walls
per dwelling exposed to the hot outside air. The cellular construction means flats are insulated from above
and below by neighbouring flats.
Stand-alone Abu Dhabi villas have by far the worst consumption of energy due to their large spaces,
uninsulated concrete walls, individual A/C units and high proportion of exposed external surface relative to
internal volume. Each villa within the Emirate uses a staggering 32,000 to 97,000 KwH of energy, per annum.
7

Living in a detached villa is a desirable lifestyle choice in the UAE, but it currently comes with a high cost
in energy, which is bad news for the environment and the finances of the building occupant.
By increasing the thermal insulation of the outer walls and roofs of these buildings, we can significantly
reduce the amount of air-conditioning energy needed to keep them comfortable. By simply changing
from dense concrete to insulating Precast Aerated Concrete, thermally efficient structures can be created
with no noticeable change in appearance or construction technique. PAC has more than ten times the
thermal insulation of conventional concrete of equal thickness.

Green Building with PAC

Embodied Energy

When you choose to build with PAC it is important

The following table shows the amount of energy

to understand why this is a Green building

in Mega Joules (MJ) used to create a kilogram of

product and how its use in buildings reduces

building product and also the amount of energy

energy.

to make a cubic metre of the product. Whether


considered by weight or by volume, PAC takes

Our story begins with the raw materials, continues

less energy to create than other building

through manufacture, transport and construction

materials. This has a corresponding result on the

and our positive impact on the environment lasts

emissions of CO2 that the manufacturing process

for the lifetime of the structure it creates.

emits.

Embodied Energy Coefficients


Material

MJ/kg

MJ/m3

Fibreglass Batting Insulation

30.3

970

BENA PAC BLOCKS (AAC)

2.1

1005

Softwood timber, kiln dried dressed

2.5

1380

Concrete Block (CMU)

0.94

2350

Precast Concrete

2.0

2780

30 MPa Site poured concrete

1.3

3180

Cement mortar

2.0

3200

Polystyrene sheet Insulation

117.0

3770

Particle board (wood chip)

8.0

4400

Clay Brick

2.5

5170

Plywood sheeting

10.4

5720

Gypsum Plasterboard

6.1

5890

Glass

15.9

37550

Carpet (synthetic)

148

84900

PVC pipe

70.0

93620

Paint

93.3

117500

Steel (beams, reinforcing bars, etc)

32.0

251200

Aluminium window extrusion

227

515700

Copper pipe

70.6

631164

Sources:
Centre for Building Performance Research - University of Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand
www.vuw.ac.nz/cbpr/
*Aroni, S. et al Autoclaved Aerated Concrete:
Properties, Testing & Design. RILEM Technical Committees, 78-MCA & 51-ALC. E & FN Spon, London, 1993
9

P R O D U C T I O N o f PA C
Raw Materials

Because we do not need to look very far to find the

The first step in choosing a building material with

raw ingredients, the energy needed to procure them

environmentally sound characteristics is to look at

is minimal. The cement (burnt lime) is the most

what it is made from. Products that are made with

energy intensive ingredient used. The aeration of

toxic or rare chemicals or minerals, high production

PAC provides it with low consumption of raw

energy components or non renewable organic

materials and hence less of the energy intensive

materials are probably not going to meet the aims

ingredients, such as cement, are used compared to

of sustainability. Precast Aerated Concrete (PAC) is

conventional masonry products. If fact, for every

around 60% silica sand, 25% cement, 11% lime,

truck - load of raw material entering our factory, four

almost 4% gypsum and 0.008% aluminum (the

truckloads of building material is created. Seldom

metallic acid that causes the mix to aerate).

are the Earths resources used so sparingly and


efficiently.

Silica is the most abundant mineral on Earths


to be predominantly iron, the crust is composed of

Transportation of Raw Materials to


Factory

rocks made from a few key oxidized minerals. Silica

The BENA factory is conveniently located in the

makes up just fewer than 60%, Alumina 15%, Lime

Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD) in Musaffah.

(calcium oxide) 5% and the remaining 20% made

Here, neighbouring companies process lime,

from oxides of magnesia, sodium, iron, potassium

taken from the UAE hills, into cement. A wide

and a handful of other minerals.

range of precast concrete businesses in ICAD

surface. Although the core of the planet is assessed

take advantage of bulk transport efficiencies to

10

Precast Aerated Concrete (PAC) main ingredient,

minimize cost and environmental impact through

silica sand, is the most common mineral on the

shared activities. Our main raw ingredient, sand

Earths crust. Its other key ingredients lime,

is never far away. No supplier of raw material is

cement and gypsum are calcium based, so it is a

further than 500 kms away and most are within 50

product that does not use scarce resources. They

kms. This close proximity of ingredients minimizes

are widely and locally available low valuable

the fuel used to get raw materials to our plant,

commodities.

reducing vehicle carbon emissions.

Raw Materials
Composition of PAC

Silica, SilO2

58.9%

Alumina, Al203

2.6%

Iron Oxides FeO + Fe2O3

1.5%

Calcium Oxide CaO

27.5%

Other Oxides of Magnesium,

Potassium, Sodium, Titanium,


Sulfur and Phosphorus

8.7%

Composition of Earths Crust

Silica, SilO2

60.6%

Alumina, Al203

15.9%

Iron Oxides FeO + Fe2O3

6.7%

Calcium Oxide CaO

6.4%

Other Oxides of Magnesium,

Potassium, Sodium, Titanium,


Sulfur and Phosphorus
Others

9.0%
0.6%

11

Manufacturing Energy and Heat


Recycling

Recycling the off-cut waste

To make such an aerated concrete strong enough

process, a cake of PAC is taken from its mould

to use for structural applications, it is fused in to a

when partially cured and put through a series of

crystal, under steam pressure.

cutting wires. The product is still soft and moist at this

We never throw anything away. During the cutting

stage and the side, end and top trimmings are


Even during this heating process, the heat energy

removed, before the remainder is sliced into panels

is conserved and recycled. Steam control

or blocks. These trimmings fall into a slurry trench,

systems efficiently vacuum the autoclave curing

where they are flushed back into the wet slurry

chambers, pump in steam from the boiler and

system, quickly dissolving and returning to a useable

transfer the steam from one autoclave to the next

mix. Up to 10% of our recipe is recycled product.

with minimal heat loss. Surplus steam is piped to


pre curing chambers to keep the

12

(PAC)

Even

hardened,

autoclaved

material

and

material warm prior to curing and even the

damaged block can be crushed and returned

condensate water from the autoclaving process

through the sand grinding mill to re-enter the

is recycled.

process. Nothing goes to waste.

L I F E C YC L E
S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y
Thermal Insulation
Precast aerated concrete provides excellent thermal insulation. The millions of tiny bubbles that give PAC its light
weight also provide many times the resistance to thermal transmission than conventional dense concrete. This
level of insulation has a direct saving in air conditioning energy in the hot gulf climate. The following comparison
between a dense concrete wall and a PAC wall demonstrates that heat transfer is reduced by 69.1%.
The thermal insulation offered by PAC is the most significant of its environmental contributions. Long term
energy consumption by building occupants in Abu Dhabis highly air - conditioned homes and workplaces
will ultimately be higher than the initial energy used to create the buildings. By reducing the heat transfer
through walls and roofs, PAC will keep building energy at minimum levels for the lifespan of the structure.

Measuring Heat Loss


To measure the quantity of energy (Q) measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), flowing through a wall, the
calculation Q = U. A. t. T x 10-3 is used ,where U is the thermal transmittance of the wall, A is the area of
the wall, t is the temperature difference between each side of the wall and T is the time period in hours.

Heat Loss Example Calculation


A plastered 200 mm Precast Aerated Concrete (PAC) wall with a density of 500 kg/m3 has a Thermal
Resistance (R value) of 1.75 (m2.K)/W. Its Transmittance (U value) is 0.571 W/(m2.K).
A plastered 200 mm core filled concrete block wall (2000kg/m3) has a Thermal Resistance value of 0.54
(m2.K)/W. Its Transmittance value is 1.85 W/(m2.K).
The reduction in heat transfer through these materials when there is a 15 degree centigrade difference
between interior space the exterior (as is common in Abu Dhabi summer) can be shown by the following
calculation for a sample 120 m2 area of wall surface.

Heat Loss for PAC Wall


Q = U. A. t. T x 10-3 = 0.571 W/(m2.K) x 120 m2 x 15C x 10-3 = 1.028 kWH

Heat Loss for Dense Concrete Wall


Q = U. A. t. T x 10-3 = 1.850 W/(m2.K) x 120m2 x 15C x 10-3 = 3.330 kWH
The reduction in heat transfer = (1-1.028/3.330) x 100% = 69.1%
13

B U I L D I N G w i t h PA C
Transport of PAC to the Site

contractor and building owner time and money

Heavy building products, such as precast concrete

and it also saves the environment.

wall or floor slabs are high users of fuel energy to


transport them to a site. Due to their weight, the

Low Mass

area of wall and floor that each truck can transport

At only a quarter of the weight of conventional

is minimal. PAC is only one quarter of the weight,

concrete, PAC does not need large foundations,

so four times as much wall or floor area can be

support columns and beams. Smaller members

loaded onto each truck, minimizing the embodied

may be used. This reduction in the steel, concrete

transport energy.

and reinforcement requirements for the support


structures has a further reduction in the overall

Hence less fuel is required to transport precast

carbon footprint of the building. Not only is PAC an

aerated concrete structures, since they are lighter

environmentally considerate product, it allows other

than the equivalent amount of conventional

building elements to be reduced to minimize their

concrete. Therefore this represents a significant

impact.

reduction in the number of truck movements and


reduced consumption of fuel, with resulting

Accuracy

reduction in carbon emissions.

Precast Aerated Concrete products arrive at the


jobsite ready to install. As they have been factory

Power of Speed

cut and crystallized, they are dimensionally

The amount of time taken on a building site to

accurate. This makes installation easier and raises

erect the structure has a direct impact on the

the quality of the construction process and finished

building site energy consumption. The more days

products. Plaster coatings can be reduced in

that products take to install, the more electricity

thickness over such smooth surfaces, reducing

and resources are used, whether from lights, air-

material use, time and energy.

conditioned site offices, transporting workers to and


from the site, etc.

Workability
Precast Aerated Concrete can be sawn, drilled

14

Precast Aerated Concrete products are lightweight,

and nailed using normal wood working tools. All of

enabling them to be large format. The size and

these processes are low energy and conserve

weight advantage allows them to be installed

electricity use on site, compared to heavy petrol

quicker and with less equipment than conventional

driven concrete working tools and high energy

construction. This Power of Speed saves the

electrical equipment needed for other types of

Fire Protection

PAC does not behave in the same way. The

Designing with sustainability in mind should take into

ingredients are of similar particle size, even the sand

account the long term durability of a building, to

is crushed into a fine grain to match the cement and

maximize the return on the investment in materials,

lime, so differential thermal expansion does not affect

time and energy.

PAC the way that it does in conventional concrete.


PACs millions of air pockets resist heat transfer,

A structures ability to resist not only the slow ravages

ensuring that reinforcing steel remains protected from

of time, but also catastrophic destructive events

the heat source for much longer than non-insulating

must be considered. Fire is a major cause of

concrete. PACs low weight also helps lessen the load

building replacement. Tragically, a building fire not

on structural members during a fire, reducing the

only releases much of the structures embedded

chance of failure. Many PAC buildings have survived

carbon into the atmosphere during the event, the

fires with only minor repairs needed.

replacement building process starts the whole


embodied energy story from the beginning,

Durability

doubling the energy cost for the site.

Durability is a significant sustainable attribute of all


concrete and masonry products because it will not

Naturally, the driving force behind good fire

rust, rot, or burn, requiring less energy and resources

protection for buildings is to save human lives and

over time to repair or replace. Concrete builds

property. A secondary consideration is to save the

durable, long lasting structures including sidewalks,

carbon emission and replacement costs.

building foundations and envelopes, as well as


roadways and bridges. As the most widely used

Not only is Precast Aerated Concrete non

building material in the world, concrete structures

combustible, it exhibits better fire resistance than

have withstood the test of time for more than 2,000

conventional concrete and masonry products.

years. Because of its longevity, it can be a viable

Standard

solution for environmentally responsible design.

dense

concrete

is

also

non

combustible, but under heat load from a fire the


differing rates of thermal expansion of the stone,

Long Life

sand and cement particles within it will cause

All buildings embodied and lifecycle energy is

cracking and flaking to occur. Dense concrete is

measured against the life of the building. By making

not a good heat insulator, so reinforcing steel within

a structure with permanent materials, such as PAC,

it can soften as it heats up, causing weakness and

we can go a long way to offsetting our carbon

structural failure (especially in floors once the steel

footprint against a durable structure with a long

reinforcing mesh becomes too soft to resist the

term payback period. A well designed concrete

weight of the heavy concrete slab).

structure should last for hundreds of years.


15

Recycle-able

compounds (VOCs) that can be emitted from some

Ideally, at the end of a buildings lifetime, it should

products and produce negative health impacts.

not simply be demolished and dumped. The

VOC emissions are minimized with the use of precast

materials in it should be salvaged for re use. PAC

aerated concrete. Mold spores are also a significant

can be returned to the factory, crushed and

contributor to indoor air quality problems. PAC does

recycled into a new mix and a fresh block cast.

not sustain mould growth and therefore it is a


completely non toxic material.

Non Toxic
Precast aerated concrete is made from sand,

Economic Sustainability

cement and lime. It does not emit any harmful

Economic Sustainability is the measure of true

emissions, either as a finished product, or during its

value for money, where the economic benefits

creation.

exceed the economic costs. Precast Aerated


Concrete is an environmentally friendly and energy

16

The materials used in construction can affect the

conserving material that meets all the requirements

quality of a buildings indoor environment. The

of our modern age and is affordable in all of its

primary impact comes from volatile organic

forms.

Protect the environment


of the United Arab Emirates
Build with PAC
PAC Blocks, Slabs and Panels are becoming
designers and contractors products
of choice in the UAE.
Whether selected for the superior fire rating,
light weight, easy workability, value for money,
acoustic or thermal performance,
you can be sure the decision to use PAC
is also an environmentally considerate one.
If building in a sustainable manner is a key
design consideration, then PAC is the ideal
material to help your next project
become a green building.

Light Weight

Quick to Install

Easily Shaped

Easily to Lay

Accurate

Versatile

Economical

Energy Saving

Noise Resistant

Non-Toxic

Breathable

Environment
Friendly

Fire Resistant

Bullet Resistant

Long Life

info@bena.ae

www.bena.ae