Gifford Ludwigsen is the CEO of PEI Worldwide, Inc., a Dallas based technology firm. Mr. Ludwigsen has invented a better material with which to construct buildings. He calls his product Thura-Block.
Thura-Block is a building block similar in appearance to the standard concrete block, but this material can reduce consumer energy costs by more than 50% compared with conventional construction methods. This is the kind of innovative “green building product that should have been considered by the State of California when they instituted their “green building code.” The block is made of proprietary recycled expanded polystyrene (85%) and concrete (15%). In comparison to standard concrete block it is very light?weight and highly insulating.
PEI has expended considerable effort into making the product a LEED® qualified “green” composite building material. Use of this unique building material in new construction may contribute up to 25 points toward the 40?49 points required for LEED® platinum certification. That in and of itself should get architects and developers interested in the product.
Thura-Block is not only less costly than standard concrete block but it is also less costly other mainstream building products such as steel, and wood wall construction. It is certified with a four?hour fire rating, and is highly resistant to flood, tornado, and hurricane.
The product can be used for load?bearing and non-load?bearing walls. The standard block size is 24”L x 12”H x 12”D, and only weighs 18 to 24 pounds depending on required density. Due to its light weight, shipping costs are reduced dramatically over standard block.
The automated manufacturing equipment can make 742 blocks per hour (5,280 blocks per 8 hour shift). The same equipment can be used with different molds to make many shapes and sizes of products such as pavers and gray block.
Interior drywall is not necessary using this construction material. Plaster, stucco, or other cement?based finishes may be applied directly to the block, without a requirement for lathe.
Thura-Block is resistant to mold, provides energy savings, is consistently strong and durable (having a service life of over 100 years), is fire resistant (retaining its structure under extreme heat), and significantly reduces noise - nearly eliminating sound transfer.
Thura-Block can be cut, nailed, screwed and sawed with ease. The product is virtually maintenance?free. Because of its versatility and light?weight, construction is much faster than using standard construction materials. The final built product looks no different than a structure built with standard building products. PEI also has patented applications for extruded panels for interior and exterior walls, roofing tiles, and trusses, each built from the same material as Thura-Block, and with the same general characteristics.
PEI does not sell the blocks, but rather the systems to manufacture the blocks. They are currently installing two manufacturing units in Canada, and are in various stages of negotiations for various US sites.
This article may seem a bit like a commercial for the company, but it is such a wonderful product that it needs to find as much publicity as we can give it.