EcoCeramics in the House

by Michael Mullaney on November 2, 2009


Researchers at the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) are tackling the problem of sustainable design and building efficiency from all angles, from advanced systems controls and solar harvesting to heliotropism and hydroponic air purification. It’s all very interdisciplinary, and a fascinating look into the behind-the-scenes reality of building design. As someone who is completely unversed in the world and language of architecture, scanning the different projects listed on the CASE site made me appreciate all of the intricacies and systems-within-systems involved in design, and recognize that conventional architecture is still a ways away from weaving efficiency and sustainability into its conventions.

The above image is the material at the heart of CASE’s Advanced EcoCeramic Structural Systems, which could one day replace, or at least augment, the steel, plastic, and cement that we use to build most modern buildings. Here’s what the researches have to say:

Ceramics represent the most potential for the ecologically minded building materials of the future. Oxygen, Silicon, and Aluminum compose the majority of the Earth’s crust, and are readily found as silica SiO2 and aluminum silicates Al2SiO5 that can be directly used for the production of ceramics. Ceramic materials can be used in diverse applications and continuously reclaimed as high quality materials saving more precious resources. Composites and coatings augment ceramic materials for high performance architectural applications.

The good researchers and students at CASE are working to model and conduct physical tests to determine how buildings and structures made from EcoCeramics will perform in terms of energy consumption as well as weathering the elements. If the technology pans out, it could soon be headed to a home or business near you.