Building a passive house? You’re likely presented with countless options to reduce your carbon footprint and increase the energy efficiency of your home. With their airtight build, solar orientation, and insulated structure, passive houses are incredible for reducing energy bills and reliance on fuel. What may often be overlooked though is that the associated gains from passive houses can come with a caveat depending on what sub slab insulator is used below grade. Since sub slab insulators aren’t visible, they often times don’t receive the attention demanded by the more prominent features of passive houses, such as solar panels or high grade windows. But it’s worth mentioning that a passive house built on the traditional means of foam board and gravel uses petroleum-derived products and chemicals.

When built on foam board, your home could be sitting directly atop benzene and formaldehyde, among other harmful compounds. Many of these compounds have adverse effects towards human health, and chemicals from foam board can leach into surrounding soils and create further negative effects. That said, the costs of building with foam board can be harmful and long term.

Foamed Glass Aggregate
Foamed Glass Passive Build

In both commercial and residential applications, passive builds should address the entirety of the associated embodied carbon, as well as the indirect costs of materials used. In an effort to improve the efficacy of passive houses, Glavel has introduced foamed glass aggregate (also known as cellular glass), created with derivation entirely from recycled glass and no virgin material sourcing. As a sub slab insulator, Glavel’s foamed glass aggregate replaces both foam board and gravel layers, creating a simpler, most cost-effective means to build. Glavel’s closed cell properties of foam glass gravel are non-toxic, inert, flame proof, and rot resistant. The clear choice in regards to human and environmental health, Glavel is resistant to frosting and heaving, and damage from insects. For those looking to build to last, foamed glass aggregate and Glavel are your building partner.