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Cresco Concrete The ultimate construction oxymoron: lightweight concrete. After a decade of use abroad, Cresco Concrete has finally brought this eco-friendly option to the United States.


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oZ WORLD MEDIA, LLC 1330 New Hampshire Avenue www.energyleaderstoday.com Suite B1 Washington D.C. 20036 Energy Leaders Today is a quarterly B2B trade journal that services the energy industry in solar, geothermal, hydro/tidal/wave, natural gas, wind, nuclear, oil, biofuels, coal & electric, and new technology sectors. ELT has a readership of 50,000 C-Level executives within the energy industry. We do not accept subscription requests from the general public, however an abbreviated version is available on our website.


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Building Blocks For A Greener Future With an innovative new product line, Cresco Concrete Products is the only company in the United States to offer lightweight concrete products— a significant step in building a more sustainable future.

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magine a building product that combines the benefits of concrete—sturdiness and reliability—with the advantages of being lightweight, easy to use, and environmentally friendly. Lightweight concrete seems like a contradiction, yet this innovative product has recently become available in the United States through Houston-based Cresco Concrete Products. The concrete in this company’s products is aerated; that is, discrete air pockets are formed inside the cement mixture, which significantly reduces the weight of the final product. Not only are these lightweight products easier to use and more cost effective, but they also represent a great leap in environmentally friendly building “I think that its really a revolutionary product,” Neil Rock, President of the company, said. “It can do a lot for society. That’s what we’re trying to bring and we’re hoping that it will catch on.” The concept of lightweight concrete stems from technology invented a decade ago in Australia, by the Pan Pacific Group of Companies. Today, this technology can be found in more 4 Energy Leaders Today Winter 2009

by Jane Caffrey

than 45 countries worldwide, yet it only recently arrived to the United States through Cresco Concrete Products, which opened its doors in 2007. A private company, Cresco Concrete Products was launched by a family who had been producing lightweight concrete in the Barbados for a few years before deciding to launch a similar business in the United States. The company started out by producing a unique Liteblok concrete wall system—made up of interlocking, aerated blocks that are easily stacked without mortar. Yet with the housing situation beginning to rapidly decline soon after Cresco Concrete Products was founded, the company felt the need to diversify its product line. Today, the $1 million company additionally produces a precast fencing system and a few landscaping and specialty products—everything incorporating the revolutionary lightweight concrete. Cresco Concrete Products is the

only company in the United States to produce the innovative lightweight concrete. Distinct from autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC), which is easily found in the marketplace, Liteblok instead is produced when a nontoxic foaming agent is introduced into the concrete mixture to create the numerous, tiny air pockets, dramatically reducing the weight of the final product. This groundbreaking product has given birth to the Liteblok Construction Method—an integrated wall building system that involves stacking the interlocking blocks without the use of mortar. Ease of assembly extends to professionals and do-it-yourself homebuilders, greatly


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reducing the timelines of construction projects. Such a procedure also allows for savings in construction costs of up to 40 percent. “The blocks are much faster than the existing system, easier to use, and very cost effective,” Rock said. “Its very easy, you just stack them and you have a wall. Some people have called them ‘Legos’ for housing.” Cresco Concrete Product has also recently expanded to offer Precast Fence Systems, presenting a full line of fence options that all feature easy to install panels or rails made with recycled, lightweight concrete. The unique proprietary aeration process also utilized for these products reduces their weight by nearly half, eliminating

the need for heavy equipment such as cranes or forklifts, as the components of the fences can be installed by as few as two people. Decreased material usage and freight also translates into lower prices for consumers. The company offers privacy fencing, screening walls, security fencing, sound barriers, skirting, and planter boxes. “This is the only lightweight concrete fence system that I know of on the market,” Rock said. Additional items manufactured by Cresco Concrete Products include ornamental and landscape products, such as balustrades, benches, drains, and pavers, as well as specialty products like stains, stuccos, waterproofing, and fasteners. The company hopes to

expand these product lines in upcoming years. Although convenient in use and cost effective for customers, the most revolutionary aspect of the concrete manufactured by Cresco Concrete Products is that it presents an innovatively green building option, and a significant step in developing a more environmentally conscious future within the construction industry. “Our mission is to provide clean, green building products that are also very easy to use,” Rock said. “We have products that don’t require skilled labor, blocks and fences that are very light. And all of our products are made with non-toxic materials. We have started to follow

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6 Energy Leaders Today Winter 2009


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green thinking throughout our process.” Lightweight products manufactured by the company provide many LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credit opportunities to construction professionals. That is, the U.S. Green Building Council has created a points system, which rewards industry professionals that use environmentally sustainable products, and professionals are able to accumulate points through the use of Cresco Concrete Products. There are several qualities of the lightweight products that define them as environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Structures constructed from Cresco Concrete Products’ concrete are long lasting and energy efficient. They are green from the standpoint of durability, as the concrete is resistant to fire, termites and vermin, mold, and decay. Implementation of the lightweight concrete results in lower foundation, column, and support requirements, and the strong completed structures withstand high winds and seismic activity. The high insulation value of the energy efficient blocks also leads to reduced heating and cooling needs. Green principals are applied to the manufacturing department as well. During production, Cresco Concrete Products completely eliminates the use of toxins, plastics, VOCs, and other harmful chemicals. While cement production typically yields large amounts of carbon dioxide, Cresco Concrete Products does not apply heat during the production of the lightweight concrete, and therefore, no ozone depleting chemicals are released into the environment. By mixing cement with air to produce the aerated products, the company also greatly reduces the amount of cement used. The concrete is manufactured using recycled concrete, grind scrap, and water, decreasing material depletion. Pollution and energy consumption are cut during transportation as well, since the products are lighter and freight loads are much smaller. “We’re recycling, returning, and we’re not generating a lot of energy in producing these products,” Rock said. ““There are no toxins used in production, and we recycle everything to use as aggregate when we can. We’re not consuming a lot of energy making these products at all.” As this new company moves forward as a pioneer in sustainable building, it will strive to use cutting-edge technology and continue to produce green products through environmentally friendly manufacturing. Although the construction industry is facing difficult times, Rock believes that Cresco Concrete Products faces a bright future, as the company continues to make environmentally conscious decisions during an era where energy efficiency and sustainability are increasingly important. “The building products are very unique items, in a different category,” Rock said. In the United States, this company stands alone with its revolutionary lightweight products; figuratively and literally providing construction professionals with the building blocks to a more sustainable future. ELT

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Cresco Concrete