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Healthier more environmentally friendly buildings have a better return on investment

Sturdier, quieter builders are a safer investment in tornado prone Texas

When it comes to creating an energy-efficient building, say a quiet medical facility or a tornado-resistant school, there’s a one-size-fits-most solution: well-designed walls.

Many of the environmental and human-health benefits building owners and architects seek can be achieved with the right choice of wall material. Walls aren’t exactly a hot topic, though, so their importance is often overlooked. Now, one new Texas-based firm hopes to change that.

With smart-design, Bautex Systems has combined multiple benefits—insulation, mold and mildew resistance, fire resistance, sound-proofing and windstorm protection—into its wall system.

Simplicity plants a seed for added benefits

“The absolute genesis for our style of construction is it’s simplicity,” says Paul Brown, Bautex president and a director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Texas chapter.

The Bautex Wall System uses proprietary Bautex Blocks, which are a composite of 15 percent cement and 85 percent polystyrene. Because the block is essentially filled with polystyrene, it’s highly insulated. In fact, the Bautex Wall System is up to two-and-a-half times more insulating than most current building code requirements.

That’s true even in Texas, which updated its energy codes in late 2016. Brown says some architects and contractors in the South worry they’ll have to change their building practices every three to six years as building and energy codes are updated. Because the Bautex Wall System exceeds what’s already required, it’s likely the industry will be able to use the system long into the future.

By contrast, contractors using conventional wall construction methods might have to adjust again and again.

Muffling noise makes for happier, healthier patients

Insulation certainly isn’t the only benefit to the Bautex Wall System, which consists of the composite cement-polystyrene blocks which are reinforced with steel and poured with structural concrete. Thanks to the insulation and dense concrete core, the Bautex Wall System received high sound transmission class (STC) and outdoor-indoor transmission class (OITC) ratings from ETS-Lindgren Acoustic Research Laboratory, an accredited third-party testing lab.

Progressive building standards like those by the International WELL Building Institute now make sound reduction a priority. According to WELL Building guidelines, “loud or repetitive exterior noises can be a source of stress and a risk factor for certain health outcomes,” including higher risk for diabetes, stroke, heart attack and hypertension.

Increasingly, healthcare providers are recognizing the strong correlation between the quality of their facility and both patient satisfaction and health outcomes. Experts like Rosalyn Cama, a healthcare interior designer and author of “Evidence-based Health Care Design,” acknowledge that quiet waiting and treatment rooms are key to creating a healing ambience.

So, medical professionals like Dr. Tri Nguyen of Texas Surgical Dermatology have opted for Bautex Blocks as a way to create quiet facilities with a solid presence that only concrete construction is said to provide.

Huffs and puffs won’t blow Bautex down

Schools see the benefits of quiet classrooms too, but for schools and other buildings in disaster-prone areas, the Bautex Wall System has another benefit: windstorm protection. The Bautex Wall System is rated to withstand windborne debris by both Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the International Code Council (ICC).

In Texas specifically, buildings along the coast endure strong hurricane winds, and in tornado-prone areas, winds can reach up to 250 miles per hour. According to Brown, the state’s latest building codes require that all school buildings have safe rooms to protect occupants from windstorms and the debris they hurl.

“All of the school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that are building new schools due to recent population growth have to design these buildings with safe rooms in mind, and that’s been a real shock for the industry,” he says. “That’s a pretty high standard.”

With the Bautex Wall System, districts can develop small safe rooms throughout a school or make entire classroom wings that qualify as “safe rooms.”

For building owners, the list of benefits goes on. As they become more educated, Brown suspects they’ll push architects and contractors towards specifying innovative products like the Bautex Wall System. Chances are architects and engineers will also embrace the benefits of the Bautex Wall System. As it does for building owners, the Bautex Wall System has a list of benefits for the builders, too. Read about those in another US Builders Review blog post here.

Testimonials

Ryan at TrueLine was a pleasure to work with and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend him or TrueLine to anyone in the future. They were professional, organized and great to work with through the process!
— James Cahill, President and Partner, J. Calnan & Associates
Working with Kyle at TrueLine Publishing was a great experience. We are quite pleased with how the article about Souder Brothers turned out. The magazine article and photo spread is going to be a very effective tool to use in our marketing. If you have the opportunity to be featured in a project like this, I would recommend doing it. Kyle and his team made the whole process very smooth and we are happy to have been a part of the latest edition of US Builders Review.
— Corinne Schaffer, Project Manager, Souder Brothers Construction
I’m blown away with the value that could come out of our partnership through this article. Working with the US Builders Review team is something that I have never experienced before and every day I feel even more privileged to be with EJH Construction, I never take for granted the opportunities that have come my way.  I am so excited about what our future looks like based on the relationship that has been built with the US Builders Review team.
Jennifer Wilhelmsen – Director of Human Resources, EJH Construction Inc.
Kyle Gahm was instrumental in coordinating this project from beginning to end. He was always available and a pleasure to work with. It would be a pleasure to work with Kyle down the road. Bill Keaton was very impressive in raising money from advertising which resulted in ASE getting the cover story, so thank you Bill. Lia Prysunka and Jeanee Dudley are both very impressive individuals who deserve a lot of credit for this featured piece. They were both very patient and accepting of any changes we suggested. The format, quality, and resolution was awesome. To sum it all up: Our upper management, who never have been high on PR and things of this nature said that it was "absolutely fantastic" and were blown away. They now are requesting multiple copies of the full magazine and are very proud of the work you all put in. Thanks again.
— Ryan Sanzari, Director of Operations, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises
What a great team US Builders has put in place! Having worked with Victor Martins a few years back, I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered our experience and contacted us again about an updated article. Not only did Victor brainstorm with me about content that would resonate with readers, but he assigned an excellent writer, Molly Shaw, to our account. Her interview with my client, Bardi Heating Cooling & Plumbing, was professional and succinct; as was her writing style. We had very few edits and were pleased not only with the article, but how well it was enhanced by color photos. Much appreciated!
— Karen Bird, Owner of Strategic Marketing Services, Bardi Heating Cooling & Plumbing
I would like to commend the US Builders Review staff for their work in developing and writing a fantastic article for Miller Contracting Group, Inc. It was truly a pleasure to work with their professional and well organized staff.
— Chuck Daniels, Business Manager, Miller Contracting Group Inc.
I would like to commend the US Builders Review staff for their work in developing and writing a fantastic article for Miller Contracting Group, Inc. It was truly a pleasure to work with their professional and well organized staff.
— Chuck Daniels, Business Manager, Miller Contracting Group Inc.
Professional with attention to customer’s needs. Well prepared vision for article while open to suggestions. Provided plenty feedback and review prior to final draft. Thanks in advance for the assistance and promotion of our organization!
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— James Kowalski, Owner, Kowalski Construction Inc.
On behalf of Alfred Sanzari Enterprises, I would like to thank you for showcasing our company as a cover story in US Builders Review, and express our gratitude for a job well done in putting together an impressive editorial product. We already have received a great deal of positive feedback on the article and are confident it will be a very effective tool for sharing Alfred Sanzari Enterprises’ story, and our new hotel project, with a national audience of industry professionals. Please also extend our thanks to everyone on your team that helped in any way to produce this article. This was truly a collaborative effort.  Your staff listened to our feedback and was incredibly professional and accommodating to our requests throughout the entire process. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with US Builders Review on future projects.
— Ryan Sanzari, Director of Operations, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises

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