Living Center Oregon

Sustainable Living Center Oregon

 Air-Crete … Affordable Housing? 

rawOregon is suffering from an affordable housing shortage of more than 24,000 units, and many in the state hope tiny homes could fill the gap.

We have discovered a low-cost method of building tiny homes.  It is called Air-Crete.  It is Portland Cement and Dish Soap.  Non-skilled workers can use this method to build affordable housing.  We will be offering a Free workshop Wednesday 1:30 – 4:30 pm Jan 16, 2019, in Lincoln City,  We will be making the modules to build a Sustainable 600 ft Tiny Dome House.

To hear the designer’s Ted Talk –

We research the areas of food, water, energy, and shelter and will share our research with anyone if there is an interest.

aircretedetailAir-Crete is made by making air bubbles and mixing them into concrete. There are other techniques similar.  They are called by many names such as cellular concrete, foam concrete, lightweight concrete, aerated concrete, ACC  etc.   They are made by putting something in the concrete that will make the gas bubbles. Aluminum powder is introduced to the concrete and reacts with calcium hydroxide and water to form hydrogen. The hydrogen gas foams and doubles the volume of the raw mix creating gas bubbles.. At the end of the foaming process, the hydrogen escapes into the atmosphere and is replaced by air.  Regardless of which method is used, the performance characteristics of the end product are the nearly the same.

It is a lightweight material that contains stable air cells uniformly distributed throughout the mixture. It is a concrete which utilizes a stable air cell rather than traditional aggregate.

Air-Crete is an eco-friendly building material, made from natural raw materials such as sand (or fly ash), cement, lime, gypsum, aluminum powder, and water. This mix creates a product that provides insulation, structure and fire protection in one lightweight product.

Air- Crete is easy and inexpensive to make yourself with a small Air Crete machine called the little dragon that can be ordered from Domegala and a bag of concrete.

It is waterproof, fireproof, and insect proof. It offers good thermal and acoustic insulation. It will not rot, warp, or corrode. Unlike concrete which is hard, heavy, cold and difficult to work with, Air-Crete is easy to work with. It dries overnight and can be cut, carved, drilled and shaped with wood-working tools. It accepts nails and screws and is easily repaired. It had good compression strength to make excellent foundations, sub-floors, building blocks, poured walls, domes or whatever. It can be molded or formed into practically any shape. Air-Crete can cut the cost of conventional methods of construction by a factor of 10 for several reasons.


ManDue to Air-Crete’s low density, the structural load will be very less and in turn, the structural members can be designed accordingly. In turn, the requirement of concrete and steel will be less for foundation and all structural members of the building. Since Air-Crete can be made into larger Blocks the number of joints will be less and in turn, the requirement of cement mortar will be less. The labor required to lay the Air-Crete blocks will also be considerably lesser and time.

With Air-Crete you can form it to any thickness to suit your climate. Just one liter of dish detergent with 10 gals of water make enough foam to produce about 2 cubic meters or 70 cubic feet of Air-Crete.  A 94 lb bag of cement produces about 40 gal or about 5.5 cubic feet or .15 cubic meters of Air-Crete at a density of 19 lb per cubic foot. The foam expands the volume of cement by a factor of 5 – 7. It eliminates the need for aggregates, gravel, sand, or rock which are costly, take space on site and require heavy equipment to deliver and requires hard labor to work.


preeywinkle_greenhousePerrywinkle Farms is actively using an Air-Crete type of product for its greenhouse.  All the transplants at Perrywinkle Farms are grown in this passive solar greenhouse constructed from blocks which is very strong and lightweight with excellent insulating properties.


The thermal efficiency stems from three factors.

  1. Air-Crete structures result in solid wall construction with integrated insulation.  Entire wall coverage prevents the thermal bridging associated with conventional stud – framed walls, which essentially leave cold gaps around every stud and header.
  2. The solid wall construction of Air-Crete structures creates an airtight building envelope, minimizing uncontrolled air changes while helping maintain desired indoor temperatures and maximizing the efficiency of HVAC equipment.
  3. Air-Crete structure benefits from the added value of thermal mass and low thermal conductivity. Though an eight-inch wall has a steady state R-value and the benefits of thermal mass, however, vary by location and greatest in regions where the outdoor temperature fluctuates above and below the desired indoor temperature over a 24 – hour period.

Since the manufacturing process creates millions of tiny air cells, they provide excellent thermal resistance.  These air bubbles products is the only wall system currently available that meets Germany’s stringent energy codes without adding insulation. This material outperforms a conventional wood framed wall system, reaching an R-value of 30 when used to construct a 12″ thick wall.heat


emoAir-Crete is fireproof. You can build a furnace with it. It will not burn.  Air-Crete is inorganic, non-combustible, and virtually fireproof.  In test, Air-Crete received a 4 hour UL fire rating and has a melting point of over 2900 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the use of Air-Crete eliminates the need for additional fireproofing materials.  Moreover, because Air-Crete is completely inert, it does not emit toxic gases even when exposed to fire.


rotOn the Oregon Coast, water damage is a constant threat to wood, adobe, cob, straw bale, compressed earth, and even metal buildings. Air-Crete will float, you can build a boat with it.  It will not rot, rust or decompose in water.


Insects and rodents are another annoying threat. They find every nook, crack, and cranny. Conventional homes are riddled with seams, joints, and layers that invite pests. Regardless of the initial quality, as your home ages, it becomes more accommodating to pests.


If you are concerned with our ecology like we are, then Air-Crete will have a special appeal to you. Air-Crete has gained international recognition as an ecological building material because of it’s resource efficiency. It’s reduced environmental impact is only getting better as greener alternatives to Portland cement continue to be developed.


wasteMost animals build their home in a day. Yet mankind spends the best years of our lives in debt to our homes.  Building an Air-Crete dome home is easily achievable for most people. Especially if you do it with others. It’s easy to learn. And the tools we provide do most of the work for you.

Type of Air-Crete Projects

  • Greenhouses
  • Housing
  • Precast Blocks and Panels
  • Floor Slabs
  • Poured Insulated Roof and Floor Decks
  • Underground Pipe Insulation
  • Acoustic Floor Underlayment and Shock Absorption

Air-Crete cost

maxresdefaultThis depends on several factors. The density, the cost of cement, the additives etc. To calculate the approximate cost of Air-Crete for a dome structure, including subfloor slab – multiply the square feet X the inches of thickness.

Click Here for details of a 1000 square foot dome 4 inches thick that cost about $10,000.

Examples of Air-Crete Domes

Volunteers can get more details at:

  • Sustainable Living Center
  • 82 Siletz Highway
  • Lincoln City, OR 97367
  • 541-765-2109


One comment on “ Air-Crete … Affordable Housing? 

  1. Pingback: Grow all Year Long with no Extra Heat Source | Living Center Oregon

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This entry was posted on May 13, 2017 by .