Drywall with Some Eco-cred
USG EcoSmart wall panels have similar properties to standard wallboard but are more environmentally friendly.
In standard gypsum wallboard (GWB) manufacturing, finely ground powdered gypsum is mixed with some key and proprietary additives, rehydrated with water, and recrystallized between sheets of paper. USG now has a manufacturing option that uses 25% less water, creates 20% less CO2 emissions, and, because the panels are lighter weight, consumes 20% less fuel during transportation of the finished board.
Why not make all board this way? Not surprisingly, the answer is cost. A USG representative told me that for the 1/2-in. sheets of EcoSmart available at a big box store, there is a 10% to 15% premium over standard drywall. The result is that EcoSmart has a pretty limited market share— and rumor has it that some customers are even less tolerant of the EcoSmart premium because they thought that the “Eco” stood for economical, not ecological.
So, if EcoSmart panels are 20% lighter and less dense, doesn’t that decrease acoustical and fire performance? Not according to USG technical representatives, who told me this was “the really challenging part of the EcoSmart formulation, but also the proprietary part. We have the test results to prove that EcoSmart board maintains acoustical and fire-resistance properties compared to standard GWB—but we can’t give you the secret.”
—Peter Yost, a frequent contributor to GreenBuildingAdvisor.com
From Fine Homebuilding #288
More about drywall:
Is the Paper on Drywall Different by Region? – A homeowner wonders why local contractors say he needs to skim coat the entire wall, instead of just taping and sanding the joints, to get his wall smooth.
Secrets to Smoother Drywall – Dead-flat walls aren’t just about taping; they start with careful planning, smart staging, and solid installation strategies.
Pre-Drywall Inspections Prevent Hiccups – Ask questions and double-check materials to identify issues before they become problems.