How to build sustainably and cost-effectively

Architects and contractors are under ever-increasing pressure to reduce both build cost and time on projects, while considering climate change and the use of sustainable building materials.

For Green Life Buildings (GLB), safety, savings, and sustainability have been the key principles at the forefront of its advanced building system using EMMEDUE (M2) technology.

From its factory in Corby, the only UK factory that produces the system, GLB is providing innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective structural building solutions for independent builders, developers, housing associations and local authorities.

The science behind the system

The core feature of the M2 building system is a modular panel comprising of two galvanised welded steel wire meshes joined by connectors and enclosing an expanded polystyrene sheet, which is then assembled and sprayed with shotcrete on site to provide structure and weatherproof properties.

This rigid core provides intermate contact between the insulation and the structural face, allowing the lightweight system to construct buildings that achieve high levels of energy efficiency and strength. Finished panels of rigid or mineral wool insulation both can provide more than 120 minutes of fire protection (REI120).

The panels can form walls, floors, roofs, stairs, and internal partitions, and can also be curved to create architectural features, giving architects complete freedom in their designs.

The system can be applied to whole modules or hand carried in panels onto building sites with challenging access.

GLB Managing Director Chris Williams is under no illusions why the system is so effective, explaining: “The material science behind the GLB/M2 system, which is lightweight but has a compression strength of at least 10 times that of a breezeblock, is what makes it work, and why timber, steel and wood cannot compete if we are genuinely serious about cutting carbon.

“The versatility and adaptability of the panels mean there is no design restrictions and it can be dressed in a range of finishes, including bricks, timber, tiles or render as standard.”

Huge benefits

GLB’s advanced building system has several huge benefits, none more so than making house building easier. It can be carried on site by hand, eliminating the need for cranes, while one truck holds the complete M2 kit for one whole house.

A complete watertight house can be built in just five to six weeks, while GLB can provide up to 4000m2 of kit per day and have the capacity to supply material to build 3,000 houses a year.

The rigids panel are more than 90% air, providing the best carbon footprint per U value, and each home built using the system could save 40 tonnes of carbon. The home can also reduce energy expenditure and carbon emissions by 65% compared to traditional builds.

A raw structure made with GLB panels can cost up to 40% less than a traditional structure of comparable market value.

Chris said: “The great thing about this product is it helps make life easier for contractors, installers and everyone else involved in the process. It works for any type of structure and keeps things simple – saving time, money, and energy.”

A rich history – an even better future?

Despite being a modern method of construction, the technology is over 35 years old and was born out of an accident in Italy when a school collapsed. EMMEDUE engineers designed the system to be safer, stronger, and more sustainable to produce.

With 70 factories around the world in 30 countries, the panels produced using the EMMEDUE (M2) technology have been used to construct over 1 million buildings all over the world using offsite construction in various ways, from modules through to panels provided for the self-build market.

“GLB has fitted into the space to provide affordable construction materials into the market, and for architects, contractors and specifiers, it provides the perfect solution,” said Chris.

“And for 15 years I have had the benefit of living in one of the homes built using the technology and it continues to balance warmth and cooling while providing me with a solid home that I could not have afforded to construct using any other method.”