Omni Block is an Insulated Concrete Block

I noticed in Dwell‘s Prefab edition that one prefab was partially built with an innovative concrete masonry unit (CMU) by Nevada-based Omni Block.  Omni Block is a structural CMU filled with Expanded Polystyrene inserts.  Walls with Omni Block can be finished or, in the case of the Simpatico project (see below), left exposed for a modern interior or exterior.  The manufacturer says the material is fire resistant, durable, and thermally efficient, and the blocks come in colors or with special aggregates.

[+] Watch some video of a mason installing an Omni Block wall.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1775577382 Doug Bursnall

    Looks to have plenty of thermal bridging, not sure what benefits this has over standard ICF’s.

  • ChKen

    Doesn’t seem to have any thermal advantage over ICFs but I suppose it has some installation advantages as a mason can stack and mortar them in the usual manner, no need for exterior finishing, or interior if you like the look, and no concrete and pump truck to hire.

    • Brett Grier

      Omni block has more thermal advantage being that we have an exposed masonry surface letting us use thermal mass to our advantage. For instance in the winter when it is cold outside the heater inside the house warms up the inside face of the block and retains the very heat that you paid for your furnace to create. The beauty is that when someone opens a window or door and cold air is introduced to the interior airspace the warmth stored in the face of the block actually leaves the block to “attack” the cold air in the room or “lack of heat” so that your furnace doesn’t have to kick on right away to warm the interior of the home again. The same principle works in the reverse effect during the summer.

    • Brett Grier

      Omni block has more thermal advantage being that we have an exposed masonry surface letting us use thermal mass to our advantage. For instance in the winter when it is cold outside the heater inside the house warms up the inside face of the block and retains the very heat that you paid for your furnace to create. The beauty is that when someone opens a window or door and cold air is introduced to the interior airspace the warmth stored in the face of the block actually leaves the block to “attack” the cold air in the room or “lack of heat” so that your furnace doesn’t have to kick on right away to warm the interior of the home again. The same principle works in the reverse effect during the summer.

    • Brett Grier

      Omni block has more thermal advantage being that we have an exposed masonry surface letting us use thermal mass to our advantage. For instance in the winter when it is cold outside the heater inside the house warms up the inside face of the block and retains the very heat that you paid for your furnace to create. The beauty is that when someone opens a window or door and cold air is introduced to the interior airspace the warmth stored in the face of the block actually leaves the block to “attack” the cold air in the room or “lack of heat” so that your furnace doesn’t have to kick on right away to warm the interior of the home again. The same principle works in the reverse effect during the summer.

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