Development of energy-efficient hollow concrete blocks using perlite, vermiculite, volcanic scoria, and expanded polystyrene

Saeed M. Al-Tarbi, Omar S. Baghabra Al-Amoudi, Mohammed A. Al-Osta*, Waleed A. Al-Awsh, M. Shameem, Mohammad Sharif Zami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Sustainable development programs focus on reducing traditional energy usage and finding alternative energy sources. Thermal insulation materials can improve energy efficiency and reduce negative environmental impact, and be cost-effective by using low density, strong heat resistance, good thermal conductivity, and durability. Consequently, a novel arrangement of hollow concrete blocks was manufactured on-site in this research. In order to assess the commercial viability of these hollow concrete blocks, four distinct variants (perlite, vermiculite, scoria, and polystyrene) were investigated. Economic viability, fuel energy use, and CO2 emissions were also assessed using experimentally obtained thermal resistance. All the newly produced blocks have fulfilled the compressive strength and absorption criteria set by the standards for non-load-bearing blocks. The perlite and scoria blocks, with their respective lowest dry density of 1544 and 1673 kg/m3, qualified as lightweight concrete blocks. As a result, their thermal conductivity was over 60% lower than that of the commercially made blocks. In addition, the scoria block proved to be the most cost-effective option. When compared to a normal market block, the best scoria wall may enhance the heat resistance by 144%. In terms of the net present value (NPV) for 40 years, this solution cut energy consumption from 272 to 109 $/m2 (about a 150 % reduction). As an additional benefit, constructing a wall out of scoria blocks resulted in a 2.4 and 1.15-fold decrease in CO2 emissions compared to conventional and control blocks. Furthermore, this study emphasizes the potential environmental benefits, such as saving natural resources, energy, and money by using these by-products to make greener concrete masonry units.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130723
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
StatePublished - 31 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support of the Deanship of Research Oversight and Coordination at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for funding this research under Grant No. DF191035 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Economic assessment
  • Emissions of carbon dioxide
  • Mechanical properties
  • Oil fuel usage
  • Perlite
  • Thermal characteristics
  • Vermiculite
  • Volcanic scoria and expanded polystyrene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science (all)


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