Who would think you could build your house with concrete blocks made of recycled wood? The company Alkern has successfully risen to the challenge with Naturbloc Bois - a concrete block made in wood!
Naturbloc Bois wood blocks have all the same qualities as concrete blocks in terms of physical appearance and uses... except they’re made from recycled wood!
Alkern is one of the leading concrete product manufacturers in France with around 30 production sites. Its customers are businesses in the building, outdoor facility and public works sectors, to name just a few. Anticipating regulatory changes and wanting to reduce its environmental impact, the company began on an R&D approach with the aim of offering circular economy based bio-sourced products with a low carbon footprint.
Its flagship product now? A concrete building block... but made of wood! Naturbloc Bois wood blocks have all the same qualities as concrete blocks in terms of physical appearance and uses... except they’re made of recycled wood! In fact, these blocks are not mineral based, but made of wood aggregates produced from old pallets.
The story is as simple as it is satisfying: concrete products are delivered on pallets so the Group found itself with large numbers of unused pallets - Naturbloc Bois blocks are made by shredding these pallets. 75% to 85% of the product actually comes from the Group's pallet waste and the remainder from local sawmills.
The technical characteristics of concrete, but without the harmful effects
Naturbloc Bois wood blocks offer several environmental benefits. First of all, they use what would otherwise be Alkern’s wood waste, and the CO2 impact is limited during production (lower than concrete). In addition, the blocks are packed on untreated pallets from sustainably managed forests (PEFC) that are reused seven to eight times for transport. At the end of their life, they become tomorrow’s Naturbloc Bois.
Finally, the Naturbloc Bois wood blocks are 100% recyclable which is an undeniable advantage when you consider that every year the construction industry generates 40 million metric tons of waste, 75% of which, like concrete, is inert – meaning it doesn’t decompose.
Beyond the ecological aspects, Naturbloc Bois blocks have the same technical characteristics as concrete blocks: thermal and acoustic insulation, mechanical resistance, fire resistance, mold and mildew resistance, and durability. They have an undeniable advantage when it comes to use: as they are half the weight of conventional concrete blocks, they’re much easier to handle and lay, thereby reducing the risk of musculoskeletal problems.
They are not only used in the same situations as load-bearing concrete blocks but they are laid using the same techniques too.
The Naturbloc Bois range includes post blocks, ties, bases for interior walls... In short, everything you need to build walls - load-bearing or non-load-bearing - for all types of common constructions, such as individual houses, collective housing buildings, offices, and health and educational institutions.
CREDITS : Main picture © Getty Images