With over 1,800 vendors exhibiting at Greenbuild 2009, it took hours to get through the entire expo hall. One stop that I made was to chat with David Rosenberg, Hycrete CEO and co-founder. The Hycrete story is rich with heritage and although the products are newer, the framework for their creation goes back to the 1950s when company inventors worked on projects for NASA.
After years of research, Hycrete brought its waterproofing products to market and just this month introduced its newest admixture, W500. The product was announced last week, just in time for the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual conference and expo, Greenbuild 2009.
Hycrete’s product line includes several different concrete admixtures, not stand-alone concrete products. The mixtures are added to the concrete during the mixing stage and the finished concrete product is more water-resistant that any topical product on the market. Topical products, such as membranes that are placed on top of existing concrete pours, have several fault points – joints, seams, etc. Since Hycrete products are added into the concrete mixture itself, it removes these fault points.
Hycrete has products that are tailored to meet several different needs – from System W, a full-service premium waterproofing system to the new W500, which is designed to meet less-critical waterproofing needs.
The main environmental benefit of their products is that concrete mixed with Hycrete is more easily recyclable. Without the use of topical waterproofing products, many of which contain toxic chemicals and VOCs, the concrete can be recycled at its end of life.
In fact, Hycrete’s product line is so innovative, from an environmental standpoint, that Rosenberg was invited to meet President Obama at the White House this past summer. Rosenberg and the leaders of seven other clean tech firms joined President Obama to discuss how clean tech can play a role in the nation’s economic recovery process.
In addition to the recognition from the White House, Hycrete was the first building material to earn Cradle to Cradle Silver Certification. In order to receive Cradle to Cradle Silver certification, the admixtures must use low-impact, green materials, be manufactured responsibly, and use recycled water. Additionally, the company must focus on conserving energy during the manufacturing and installation process as well as be a socially responsible business.
Of course builders want to install a more waterproof product and while the environmental features are a bonus, it often comes down to the financial bottom line. What is this going to cost the company and how long will it take to recoup the expenses?
Hycrete’s answer is simple, using one of their admixtures is less expensive than using a membrane product. Installation costs are about 30 percent less with Hycrete than other waterproofing products. Not only does the product, itself, cost less, but it can also be installed in less time. Since Hycrete’s product is an admixture, construction steps are eliminated, there is no chance for additional weather delays, and there is only minimal surface preparation needed.
Hycrete provides on-site staff to oversee the System W installation and backs up their work with a comprehensive performance warranty. Additionally, use of this product can help contribute to the total points needed by buildings pursuing LEED certification.
The Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California used Hycrete System W during the building’s construction process. The project, which is pursuing LEED-NC Gold certification, earned an Innovation in Design credit for the use of Hycrete’s product. The credit was awarded for “Membrane Free Construction Through Integral Concrete Waterproofing.”
Hycrete’s work with the Thomas Jefferson School of Law put their product claims to the test. The use of the waterproofing admixture reduced the construction time by four weeks and saved approximately $187,000 in construction costs.
From an environmental perspective, the Hycrete product led to an elimination of 36 tons of landfill debris, 53,844 pounds of non-renewable materials, and approximately 18,567 pounds of polymers.
Rosenberg was there on the expo floor discussing his innovative product line and its real-world application with prospective customers, members of the media, green builders, architects, and anyone else interested in his eco-friendly waterphobic cement admixtures. Rosenberg’s passion for his product, as well as the impact that green building has on the environment, was obvious and quite inspiring.