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EcoRock: Drywall Made with 90% Less Energy

By David Sassoon

Jan 7, 2008

America is a drywall nation. Fifty billion square feet of the stuff is manufactured each year, using an energy-intensive process invented in 1917. All that sheet rock in every nook and cranny of this country? Super-heated gypsum, merely. Primitive stuff. Close to half the cost of its manufacture can go to pay for the energy used to cook it hard.

Now enter EcoRock -- it's wall board that requires 90% less energy to manufacture. It looks and performs just like traditional sheet rock -- only it's hardly got a carbon footprint. That's a big deal if you consider that making drywall accounts for 1% of US energy consumption.

EcoRock is the latest product going into production from a Sunnyvale, California start-up called . Earlier this year, they got . A single sheet of QuietRock delivers the noise reduction of eight sheets of standard drywall.

Now investors have handed over $50 million to Serious Materials to allow the company to manufacture EcoRock commercially. It will go on sale this summer, and go into full production in the fall.

Here's what Kevin Surace, CEO of the company, told :

We look at it as the beginning of a new industrial revolution. What you're seeing is the opportunity to take everything that we do around us and get on the right side of the energy curve.

The formula for EcoRock is a closely guarded secret. It's first customers will be builders who are going green -- a booming niche. In 2005, green building products and services generated $7 billion in revenue. Now, it has almost doubled.

With oil at $100 a barrel and all forms of energy only getting pricier, why burn it to cook gypsum? who placed their $50 million bet on EcoRock look like the ones with the smart money.

Is this company still in business?

A quick search on google shows no place to buy the product. I've seen a billion "articles" which simply rewrite the press releases but no product. And no Material Safety Data Sheet. Does this product exist?

I just talked with their

I just talked with their call rep, and currently the product is not available outside of CA.

On a green efficiency scale

On a green efficiency scale how would you place concrete with drywall and portland cement? I have access to good equipment concrete but I don't have a clear relative image of concrete with other building materials. So after all the talk on hazards and economics, what's the conclusion?

There is no doubt that

There is no doubt that drywall is a very popular construction material but I also think it comes with some health and other construction risk hazards and I am specially referring to . Hopefully new generation products have overcame all the negative aspects.

Price?

My question is how much will this stuff cost? There will be a high incentive to produce it over gypsum when Cap and Trade kicks in. But contractors will go the cheap route when they can, as evidenced by using illegal aliens to install tainted Chinese drywall.

drywall installation

we must be careful on installing drywall painting cuz there are those that could affect our human system.

EcoRock Smoke and Mirrors

After reviewing the patent, the material is basically a lightened portland cement product. Serious materials uses the "By-product loophole" to get a green claim. Serious has convinced somebody to screen off the ultrafines from their portland cement (which is not missed in portland cement use) and claim it is waste. Now it still uses LOTS of energy to produce these fines, still generates TONS of greenhouse gasses, but it is labelled as as by-product. This is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Incidentally, this material is quite caustic due to the high pH. I feel for the installers who are going to route out the wall light switches and electrical outlets. Their eyes are going to be awfully sore. Oh well, buyer beware.....

Truth sayer doesn't speak the truth

As CEO of Serious Materials, I speak for the entire company when I say we are very concerned about companies greenwashing in any way. We won't do it, and we verify all our claims with multiple third parties.
The current patents he refers to that are published from the company do not cover the EcoRock production product, but rather some other research done here. So the commenter is out of touch.
EcoRock is not made from materials that are "screened off" from portland cement. It is new material science. We don't use any "by product" loophole. The 80% post industrial waste content is just that. Waste product from manufacturing other goods. These waste streams are usually disguarded in landfills or buried in piles near the plants that produced them. The fact we can use materials like this, instead of burying them, is nothing short of a miracle. Using these to make drywall does not increase CO2 emmissions and instead decreases them by replacing gypsum processes which require substantial energy to calcine and dry.
We are devoted to addressing climate change head-on, for real, with transparency and 3rd party verification. And it is unfortunate when an anonymous poster makes up details to serve their own purpose, and not the good of humanity.
Serious Materials has 4 US plants today providing green jobs for Americans and world-class products to address climate change.
While we encourage all of our customers to provide feedback on how we can deliver better solutions, fabricating posts like "truth sayer" has don't serve anyone. Our employees, our customers, or our planet.

Kevin Surace
CEO
Serious Materials, Inc.

ecorock/quiet rock

I am a 59 year old woman from Dalton, Ga. I came home last Jan. 2009 to find my husband had taken everything from our home,( my clothes included) to move in with his new girlfriend. He took all the money we had in OUR accounts, He is a police officer in our town so I got nothing back. I had nothing. I had to rent out my home to have some income. The young couple i had rented to had a fire and gutted my home. I called my insurance company to find out that my ex husband had cancelled the insurance on our home. Then I lost my job, I had to take custody of my now 12 year grandaughter. I have had a great year!!!! I know you are wondering why the heck I am telling you all this crap. I am so tired of having no where safe to live with grandaughter. I have saved about $500.00 and am now trying to find someone to help me rebuild the interior of my burnt out home. I want to go back with as many "green" products as possible. I would appreciate it if you would be willing to donate your new ecorock or quiet rock product for the inside of our 1200 sq ft home we have a basement that is (was) finished but had huge water damage from the fire department. With the basement included the total sq ft. is 2400 sq ft. In turn I will be willing to use my home as a show home to showcase this new product in this area. I have been in sales my entire career but now at 59 yrs of age, I have discovered that age discrimination is real and alive in the states. I would love to repay you by providing builders in this area with all your information and act as a sells agent for your company.

This could be a win win situation for both of us. You get huge exposure in the southern states, and I get a safe green enviroment for myself and my grandaughter.
I will wait to hear from you.

what transparency?

How can there be claims of transparency when the formula is said to be secret? Are you saying I can't know what materials are put into my house?

Does it outgass at room temp.?

What gases are released when this material is heated to temperatures experienced in a substantial housefire?

Is it flammable?

What chemicals are safe to expose it to?

Will volatile solvents in certain adhesives cause this material to break down?

How is this stuff going to meet thousands of local building codes? Fire codes?

How can I engineer mechanical interfaces (including penetrating interfaces) to this material? Chemical (glue and paint) interfaces?

Patents are designed to protect manufacturers while revealing important information to users, including composition and safety information. The most accurate description I've heard so far is "sheets of industrial waste". What a marketing nightmare.

Now, after the Chinese radioactive drywall scare, any secrecy is just stupid and crazy. If our patents aren't extensive enough to release a simple list of constituents, then our investors are suckers.

msds

post the MSDS sheet on this product.It like all gypsum board will have some glue mixed in with the product to help adhere the paper to the product which will eventually end up in the ground. Gypsum itself is benificial to the soil but enviromentilist hate to see any chemical glue or other like products enter the soil. I also agree it sounds good but the price will also make the difference like quiet board VERY EXPENSIVE this will most likly be priced as high only well off people can afford it. Also can you go more in detail on the natural drying process, time is money and seem less cost effective to have board laying around waiting for it to dry so it seem to have to have a baking process to cure the board mabey i am wrong. and you maybe using bi-products that would have entered the soil prior to manufacturing but the scraps after installation will go into it at the end so does the one carbon footprint off set the other.

Drywall & Plastering Contractor

Thanks for this Beautiful article about Drywall and Plaster Demaged!

Nice Concept

It's a great idea considering that making drywall accounts for 1% of US energy consumption but if it's not cost efficient, contractors will continue to buy the same old drywall.

EcoRock will make a

EcoRock will make a difference when you can find it at Home Depot at a comprable price to sheetrock. If it costs more per sheet to make than drywall it will never be more than a boutique building material, ie., not made at all.

Environmental impact costs

Environmental impact costs are not factored into so called 'cheap' products; these products cost society more but we pretend these costs don't exist because they are longer term. This short term economic only model is also what's assuring the collapse of traditional stock markets; the one legged stool cannot stand for long. Sustainability is about acknowledging the interactions among human environmental and economic goals and needs to assure these are met now and for the future.

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