If you don’t know, concrete is really bad for the planet – it is responsible for 8% of the global carbon emissions! In the quest to find the perfect substitute many alternatives like foamcrete, papercrete, and hempcrete were created. Now we’ve got aircrete – a foamy mixture of air bubbles and cement which is cost-effective to produce, DIY-friendly, and has the essential safeguarding properties needed for construction.
Hajjar Gibran had the idea to create AirCrete homes and DomeGaia brought it to life. The aircrete mixture is a lightweight and low-cost building block that is fireproof, water-resistant, insect-proof, and serves to insulate the structure. AirCrete reduces construction costs by 10 times and is an easy material to work with for single-story homes. It dries overnight and can be shaped into any desired form – so what do you want your home to look like? A mini castle? Spongebob’s Pineapple? Or believe it to be a hobbit home and depart on an adventure to Mordor, but with a slightly more trusty accessory like Gandalf’s walking stick or this convenient button push trekking pole. Anything is possible!
The dome structure is actually very energy efficient because it encloses the home with minimal material and keeps it warm, unlike traditional homes where 40% of the energy loss happens around the thermal bridges where studs, floors, and roof meet the exterior walls. It is also the strongest structural shape to safeguard against natural disasters, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, and volcanic eruptions.
The major key to DomeGaia’s AirCrete is the foaming agent that works by suspending tiny air bubbles in the cement mixture. A continuous foam generator disperses a mix of the foaming agent (like all-natural “high foaming” dish detergent) into the cement mixture and continues to mix it. It eliminates the need for aggregates, gravel, sand, or rock which are costly, take up space on-site, require heavy equipment to deliver, and hard labor to work with. It is wonderful to know we have so many ecological building alternatives to concrete that are durable, moldable, safe, climate-friendly, scalable, and sustainable!
Fun fact, AirCrete is also waterproof enough for you to build a boat with because it will not rot, rust, or decompose!
Due to the seamless integration of floor, walls, and roof, Aircrete homes eliminate outside air penetration which allows the natural flow of interior convection currents that make it easier to heat and cool.
“Perhaps the most obvious reason to build with AirCrete is the enormous amount of money it will save you in construction, maintenance, keeping you cool during the summer and warm in the winter. Millions of tiny closed air cells give AirCrete its insulating properties. And you can form it to any thickness to suit your climate,” says the team.
Just one liter of dish detergent with 10 gallons of water makes enough foam to produce about 2 cubic meters or 70 cubic feet of AirCrete. The foam expands the volume of cement by a factor of 5 – 7.
Just use the standard wood-working tools to carve or drill into the material, inserting screws and nails where necessary.
This material also keeps the homes free from insects and rodents. These creatures hide in all kinds of cracks and when homes age they become more vulnerable to pests. You often resolve to treat the problem with chemicals and it becomes an endless cycle.
Natural materials like limestone in aircrete also help to keep the ailments caused by the off-gassing of modern construction materials.
DomeGaia not only designs, hosts workshops on building Aircrete homes but also sells a readymade foam generator unit called the Little Dragon along with their Foam-Injection AirCrete Mixer for those who want to take on a big project on their own from scratch.