Simulation of AAC for Sustainable Design and Construction

The building infrastructure in the United States (US) consumes two-thirds of the nation’s electricity demand and accounts for one-third of all domestic energy consumption.  Regrettably, conventional forms of energy production have an adverse impact on natural ecosystems.  Faced with rising energy costs, diminishing fuel resources and emerging environmental concerns, the US building industry has begun to address these challenges by adopting sustainable or green building alternatives. 

This transition is coupled with the development of innovative building components which emphasize energy conservation.  Greater durability, reduced maintenance and reasonable cost premiums are desirable parameters for the emerging materials.  While Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) is a well established in other parts of the globe, the US building industry is unfamiliar with its use and application.  

UAB research is conducting a comparative evaluation of three shell construction techniques using modern computer simulations.  AAC, traditional wood, and metal frames are evaluated using energy simulation software.  Thermal, economic and environmental characteristics of each wall system are evaluated.  The utilization of the computer simulations will allow for manufacturers to document the potential energy efficiency of full-scale building systems constructed with AAC.