New Building Materials Are Changing New School Construction

Insulated Concrete Block delivers immediate and long-term benefits

Constructing an energy-efficient school is one of the best investments a school district can make. The key to that investment is building a school with materials that conserve energy, reduce costs and provide a cleaner, more comfortable environment for students, teachers and staff. Constructing a better building envelope is critical to building a school that achieves these goals, meets new code requirements and reduces operating costs. A better building envelope starts with insulated concrete block. Bautex Block is an insulated concrete block used to construct schools and commercial buildings that provides thermal and sound insulation that exceeds current building codes, improves comfort and air quality, and delivers exceptional fire and storm safety – all while offering significant year-over-year cost-savings to the school district that by saving millions of dollars over the life of the building.

Bautex Block is a lightweight, modular and mortarless wall system where blocks are stacked and then filled with reinforced concrete to create an insulated structural wall. The wall system is constructed using the same labor, tools and techniques as those used in traditional concrete masonry construction. Plumbing and electrical systems are typically added after the walls are constructed. Bautex Block is changing the way new schools are built today, and how those schools will benefit their communities for the next 40-50 years. From increasing energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint to providing a cleaner, healthier and safer learning environment. Perhaps most important, the money saved from reducing operational costs is substantial over the lifetime of the building.

Bautex Block enables builders to construct a simple, single, integrated wall assembly that creates an airtight, continuously insulated building envelope that provides substantially higher levels of performance and safety. Design teams should consider the following points when evaluating Bautex Block versus other building materials for school building projects.

FIRST COSTS: Speed and ease of construction are the primary benefits of constructing with Bautex Block, which provides better building performance in a single, integrated assembly. The large, lightweight blocks are stacked quickly without mortar and are installed by a single trade using less-skilled labor than other traditional wall systems. Overall cost of installation is competitive, but the savings in project timeline can be significant.

OPERATING COSTS: Bautex Block is an energy-efficient R-14 continuously insulated mass wall that exceeds the 2015 IECC energy codes for climate zones 1 through 6 by as much as 246 percent. The system is very durable with proper finishes and is not susceptible to mold, rot or degradation in performance. With Bautex Block, no additional maintenance is required over time.

HEALTH & SAFETY: The air and moisture barrier typically installed with the Bautex Block system helps to eliminate pollutants and allergens from infiltrating the classroom environment. The system also provides one of the highest fire safety ratings of any wall system, and meets FEMA standards for hurricane and tornado safe room construction.

SUSTAINABILITY: Bautex Blocks are exceptionally efficient in the use of materials and utilize 28 percent recycled materials by weight. For projects in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, design teams can take advantage of purchasing local and regional materials. Due to the longevity of concrete construction, buildings that use insulated concrete block like Bautex Block can experience long lifecycles.

IMPROVED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT: With the installation of a fluid-applied air and moisture barrier, Bautex Block walls provide demonstrably higher levels of air tightness and energy efficiency. Continuous insulation and thermal mass also contribute to a stable and comfortable indoor temperature and high noise reduction.

Benefits of Building with Bautex Block include:

  • Durability – Reinforced concrete construction
  • Energy Efficiency – Continuous insulation + thermal mass + air barriers
  • Fire Protection – Four-hour load bearing fire rating (QAI # B1075)
  • Storm Safety – FEMA-rated hurricane and tornado safe room material
  • Sound Reduction – Composite insulation + concrete mass
  • Recycled Materials – Minimum 28% by weight

Download a White Paper, Leadership in School Construction, to learn more.