11 October 2012

A Fly Ash Foundation

The foundation was poured last week at the new house around the corner, and while it may look grey, it's as green as the rest of the house.

What makes it a green foundation is the use of fly ash in the concrete.  Fly ash is a by-product of burning coal, so it's readily available as long as coal-fired power plants are still operating, and using it in concrete saves raw materials, energy, water, and landfill space.  According to Austin Energy's fly ash fact sheet, it also reduces pollution, makes concrete easier to pour, and results in a stronger final product than plain old cement.

We first learned about fly ash back in 2009, when we attended Austin Energy's Green by Design workshop.  Upon hearing about it, I thought we were going to have to ask for this exotic new kind of concrete, but apparently it's pretty much how foundations are made these days.  (And sure enough, we didn't get green building points for ours.  That's how you know that a "green" practice has become mainstream or is required by current building codes -- it doesn't qualify for green building points, since there's no other legal or practical way to do it.)

With the foundation complete, framing is underway, and I dare say Mr. and Mrs. Austin Cubed (also known as Bubba and Mrs. Bubba) are as excited to see their house begin to take shape as we were nearly three years ago when ours was at this stage.

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