EcoRock: Greener Drywall

EcoRock: Greener Drywall

Jonathan B.
Aug 12, 2008

Humble drywall is one of the key materials in modern construction: it's relatively lightweight, inexpensive, and requires less skill than plaster to install. It helps make wood buildings safer in fires, and it also makes buildings much faster to construct. But its production has a high energy cost. Serious Materials claims they're out to change that with a material they're developing called EcoRock.

We're frustrated Serious Materials is not more forthcoming about our key question: what's in EcoRock? Their website claims 85% of content is post-industrial recycled, and that their production process doesn't use heat. The plant will be powered by solar and wind energy, so they are making a claim that the production process is "zero CO2." (This claim, while laudable, overlooks the fact that the finished product must be transported to the building site, but drywall is a bit heavy to haul on a bicycle.)

What seem to get right, if the product delivers on the promises, is that EcoRock will be a direct replacement for drywall, complete with tapered edges. No special techniques, training, or special labor will be required.

We think alternative building practices such as straw bale construction and SIPs have great promise, but there's so much inertia in the building industry that a "drop-in replacement" type of product might just make the biggest impact.

Thanks, Aaron!

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