Bright-Minded Home November 2016
Q+A with Christopher Genest of Genest in Sanford on the eco-benefits of insulated masonry wall systems, Comfort Block
Q. WHAT IS COMFORT BLOCK?
A. Comfort Block is a 16-inch-thick masonry wall system with layers of concrete, insulation, and steel for reinforcement. The blocks are made with a standard concrete block machine, but Comfort Block units use a lightweight insulation insert that allows for greater R-value (the capacity of insulation to resist heat flow). The blocks are calibrated to a very precise dimension so mortar is eliminated for leveling in the construction process. This makes it both more resource efficient and easier to build with.
Q. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR COMFORT BLOCK HOME?
A. It is an extremely quiet house with even temperatures. The walls don’t flex in the wind, and I can’t hear rain or traffic. It’s very calming. I never realized how much outside noise affected my mood until it was blocked out. And you don’t see the blocks—they are covered with plaster to look like a normal wall.
Q. WHAT VALUE DOES COMFORT BLOCK HAVE IN TERMS OF DURABILITY?
A. It defies elements that would break
it down, such as fire, rot, and insects. The concrete walls and insulation are fireproof, mice and insects do not like to live in Comfort Block, and I’ve never seen water penetrate it.
Q WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST PER SQUARE FOOT FOR COMFORT BLOCK?
A. Price per square foot of installed wall system (including blocks, stucco, and plaster) is $30. Contractors experienced with SIPs (structural insulated panels) should be able to easily understand the Comfort Block building process, but since this is such a new product in the United States, we have a full-time mason on our staff to assist and train contractors on installation techniques.