“Elegant repurposing to support low carbon building products”
Project description by jury
The goal of the project is to develop innovative sustainable alternative construction materials for wall veneers and insulation purposes. Building wall components are produced from cement kiln dust, byproducts from agriculture (crop fibers, rice husks, bean pods etc.), and aquaculture (fish) used as a natural binder. Depending on the fiber type, different colors, weight and textured of the blocks can be obtained. Compared to conventionally fired bricks that are burned at high temperatures, IXIM (a Mayan word for maize) components require less energy to be produced. The project claims to not only mitigate Greenhouse gas emissions entailed by the production of conventional bricks but also reduce land degradation to extract raw materials.
The LafargeHolcim Awards jury North America applauded the elegant way industrial waste from agriculture that is usually discarded is repurposed. The use of fish processing byproducts as the adhesive agent demonstrates a commitment to reducing the demand for virgin materials in building products. The jury members considered that, albeit for a niche market, the integration of such type of byproduct could turn out to be a true revolution for the cement industry. The variety of colors depending on the crop residues was also seen as a strength of the product. The jury commended the versatility of the manufacturing system, as blocks can be realized with a multitude of natural fibers which makes its production adaptable to different worldwide regions while encouraging the use of local resources. The building products can support the low carbon building industry and enhance the construction sector by introducing new trends of manufacturing processes.