Is that ever-elusive "affordable housing" on the horizon for North America? A demonstration home built in Phoenix has raised hope in some quarters. The three-bedroom 1,256-square-foot-house was made with walls and partitions of nailable, sawable wood fiber concrete panels.


Panels for the demonstration home were made using a proprietary natural fiber concrete developed in Finland to resist weather, fire, and termites as well as to provide necessary strength. Readily sawable and nailable in the hardened form, the concrete can be produced in densities from about 50 to 100 pounds per cubic foot. In addition to fibers, the mix contains cement and pozzolanic material such as fly ash or natural pozzolans, aggregate, admixtures, and water. Portland cement, slag cement, or various blended cements are all suitable.

Whether built on a slab as the demonstration house was or over a basement, a 2x4-inch channel cast into the foundation receives the panels. The wood fiber panels are erected and plumbed in this groove. Threaded couplings embedded in the foundation serve as connection points for any reinforcing steel that may be required by local codes.