Environmental Benefits of Using ESCSI Lightweight Aggregate

Designing and thinking more sustainably requires that decisions respect the interdependence of all life. This necessitates concern for long-term performance with minimal maintenance and energy demand in our designs, as well as efficiency and responsibility in our manufacturing and construction. There are many changes that can be accomplished in the present that will yield positive results for humanity now and in the future. We believe the utilization of ESCS lightweight aggregate with all its positive benefits is an important element in the sustainability of the building industry.

The embodied energy to make ESCS includes mining, manufacturing and transporting the material to the jobsite or building product manufacturer. This embodied energy is often offset in a very short period of time due to the lighter weight and the improved thermal performance of the lightweight aggregate compared with conventional aggregate.

Concrete and Concrete Masonry

The use of ESCS lightweight aggregate instead of conventional aggregate in concrete and concrete masonry can contribute to the following characteristics in the structure:

  • Reduced dead load
  • Less overall material used because thinner walls and floors use less material themselves, and likewise allow smaller foundations, beams and columns
  • Reduced seismic inertia
  • Longer spans, which increases design flexibility
  • Reduced transportation impacts because more lightweight aggregate can be shipped on a truck,barge or by rail
  • Improved energy performance with thermal mass, higher thermal inertia and lower thermal bridging
  • Increased durability and service life with improved concrete properties
  • Improved concrete properties through internal curing, such as:
    • Improved contact zone between aggregate and cementitious matrix
    • Better elastic compatibility between aggregate and cementitious matrix
    • Fewer overall micro-cracks and macro-cracks
    • Reduced autogenous shrinkage
    • Reduced chloride ion permeability

The use of ESCS lightweight aggregate in concrete saves materials, labor and transportation costs, and improves the performance and service life of concrete. Using lightweight aggregate can lower the overall energy consumption of structures throughout their useful lives. The use of ESCS lightweight aggregate often lowers initial construction cost and most importantly, significantly lowers the life-cycle cost of the structure.

In Lightweight Geotechnical Fills

By using ESCS LWA as a geotechnical fill, unstable soils can be converted into usable land. In addition, as a geotechnical fill, ESCS LWA are:

  • Half the weight, coupled with a high internal friction angle can reduce vertical and lateral force by more than one-half
  • Free draining
  • Provide insulation
  • Chemically inert

Horticulture or Green Roofs

For horticulture or green roof projects, ESCS is the perfect soil media because it is non-toxic, odorless, 100% inert and will not compress, degrade, decompose, or react with agricultural or horticultural chemicals. ESCS is used as a soil conditioner in plantings, golf course greens, potting soil and as a soil media in both intensive and extensive green roofs. ESCS is also incorporated into engineered structural soil to support healthy plant growth and improve drainage while allowing access by heavy emergency vehicles to the edges of buildings.

ESCS lightweight aggregate:

  • Promotes strong root development
  • Improves aeration and drainage
  • Reduces nutrient loss and improves moisture retention
  • Enhances soil resiliency to climate changes
  • Resist compaction

Storm Water Management and Water Treatment

ESCS can be used to construct vegetated filter strips, rain gardens, rain basins, constructed wetlands and bioswales to treat and reduce the amount of storm water runoff. The voids within ESCS provide an environment suitable for beneficial microbial action that will help to filter storm water. ESCS is also used as the underground-layered aggregate filtering fill beneath permeable pavements. ESCS lightweight aggregate has the following:

  • Increased surface area with better porosity
  • Larger interstitial space and greater water storage
  • Improved removal of suspended solids, hydrocarbons, metals, nitrogen and phosphorous

In addition, ESCS can be used as part of an on-site sewage treatment system. The void structure within ESCS allows microbes to live, flourish and improve septic systems efficiency. It can also be used in living machines that process a generated waste stream through the use of innovative natural environments that filter and digest wastes in many different stages. ESCS can also be used as filter media in packaged nutrient removal systems and in constructed wetlands.