Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

My Photo
Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design.

May 10, 2008

Thermoplan and Zeigel Blocks

There is a manufactured building system that has been gaining popularity in Europe for several years called Thermoplan or Zeigel Blocks. While I have no personal experience with this technology, I can readily see its many advantages. As far as I know this system has not made its way across the ocean to North America. From what I can gather from the websites (referenced below), here are some of the advantages:

Thermoplan or Zeigel Blocks are fired clay blocks which use about 1/3 less energy to make compared to concrete blocks, and about 2/3 less CO2. They are fast, simple and ideal for a self builder to use. About 50% of German homes are made this way and the technology is spreading to other areas of Europe.

Thermoplan systems use Ziegel blocks with a thin bed of mortar, to provide a breathing wall construction system. When combined with woodfibre board they can form a thermally and acoustically high performance shell. The Ziegel blocks come as part of a full load-bearing external and internal wall masonry system, and combine high thermal performance with robustness, speed of build and a breathing wall design.

Because of all the trapped air and the thickness of the walls, these blocks provide reasonable insulation, while at the same time do provide some degree of interior thermal mass for maintaining constant interior temperatures. This is an unusual combination of these two factors in a single wall system.

See or for information for this innovative system.


Anonymous Blake Middleton said...

Europeans, especially Germans, seem to be ahead of Americans when it comes to building technology. They also have a lot more experience building houses that last longer and are built better.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Wannabuildabikeguy said...

I wouldn't say Europeans are "ahead" of Americans as much as what USA code allows to "be" built. I have seen many "new" & "Green" products that are still not used, or awaiting approval from building associations, states, cities, villages, LEED...etc. True, Europeans have been building for hundreds of years longer then USA, but I believe (correct me if I am wrong) the building codes that become "standards" are more readily accepted there, more than here. These use clay, can some recycled material also be included in these blocks or made up completely of recycled material waste?

9:35 AM  
Anonymous George said...

The stats compared to concrete don't make sense to me--first of all, where is all this clay being harvested? Many areas are clay deficient. How specialized is the technology to make these clay forms? Concrete can be made nearly anywhere.

Concrete is nearly always made from locally available materials--such as fly ash/soot aggregated with cements, etc--and the concrete compounds are typically variable between regions based on what is available nearby.

8:05 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home