Achieving ‘nirvana’ with concrete


The leaky homes crisis of the late 1990s has turned attention to the use of alternative materials for residential construction, especially concrete. While concrete has been used extensively as a building material in civil and commercial construction for many years, it is still not widely used for residential applications because of misconceptions over cost and complexity.

An economical, quality alternative to traditional timberframed construction is Reid’s Nirvana insulated concrete sandwich panel system. Nirvana panels have a layer of polystyrene insulation between two layers of concrete that adds effective insulation to the thermal mass benefits given by the concrete. 

This creates a comfortable and healthy living environment inside the home. The main benefit of thermal mass is that when the ambient temperature rises, the concrete absorbs heat and stores it until the temperature drops below the temperature of the concrete. 

When this happens the concrete releases the stored heat to stabilise the air temperature. This results in flattening out temperature extremes, making homes cooler during the summer and warmer during winter with little or no need for heating or cooling in either season. 

Because the insulation is on the outside of the main structural layer it increases the efficiency of this action by restricting it to the internal environment. The versatility of concrete also means that it can be cast in virtually any shape and be formed into an almost unlimited range of exterior finishes. 

This allows designers to have a huge amount of freedom and flexibility to create comfortable, efficient, healthy, secure, durable, stylish and economical homes.

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