Transparent Concrete makes its North American debut at greenbuild

(OTTAWA, Canada)  —  What if cement could light up a room? It can now. The revolutionary i.light® precast, transparent concrete panels can brighten any room and allow people to see images and objects behind them.

Making its North American debut at Greenbuild, two i.light precast concrete walls (13 ft. H x 6.75 ft. W),

manufactured by ESSROC Italcementi Group, showcase the innovation of cement and the endless possibilities for interior and exterior applications by builders, designers and architects.

“The i.light walls are representative of the ongoing innovation of our industry and dedication to advancing building design,” said Michael McSweeney, President and CEO, Cement Association of Canada. “The walls change our traditional perceptions of cement and concrete by showcasing their possibilities and potential to transform our communities in new and exciting ways.”

The transparency in cement is achieved via an innovative technology developed by Italcementi Group’s R&D department, in which a new dry ready-mixed product that allows bonding a light-transmitting plastic resin matrix is used. This allows the manufacturing of solid insulated concrete construction panels which transmit light, both natural and artificial. i.light panels are guaranteed to last as long as a panel made from traditional cement material.

The result of the transparent panels is simply brilliant as they create a sequence of lights and shadows in constant evolution throughout the day. The transparent effect is more evident when it is dark and seen from the outside. The panels allow interior lights to filter through, from inside. During the day, exterior light filters in, showing the changes in the levels of daylight. The capability to transmit light can also make it possible to use less electricity, potentially contributing to energy savings.

Italian architect Giampaolo Imbrighi first envisioned transparent concrete panels when designing the Italian Pavilion for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. i.light panels were first used then, making his futuristic vision of building a structure with concrete that could filter light a reality. The Pavilion was built using 3,774 transparent panels made from 189 tons of “transparent cement” and covered a total surface area of 1,887 square metres (approximately 40 per cent of the entire Pavilion).

In addition to the development of transparent concrete, other recent innovations by the cement industry, like ductal concrete, as well as futurist ones, like concrete fabric, also showcase its commitment to continuous cutting-edge advancements.

i.light panels are anticipated to be available in North America in 2012.

See the beauty and brilliance of the i.light walls on display at the Cement Association of Canada exhibit at Greenbuild, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, booth 1231N.

About the Cement Association of Canada

The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is the voice of Canada’s cement manufacturing industry, a vital contributor to the country’s economy and infrastructure. The industry provides a reliable, domestic supply of cement required to build Canada’s critical infrastructure including our network of roads and bridges, homes and buildings, waterworks and dams. The CAC and its members are committed to the environmentally responsible manufacturing of cement and concrete products. CAC’s members are CAlPortland, Ciment Québec, ESSROC Italcementi Group, Federal White Cement Ltd., Holcim Canada, Lafarge Canada, Lehigh Hanson Canada and St Mary’s Cement Group – companies whose parent corporations belong to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Cement Sustainability Initiative. The cement and concrete industry contributes more than $8 billion in annual sales and over 27,000 direct and indirect jobs to the Canadian economy.


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