Product Review

Green E-Board Building Panels

With the durability of cement backerboards but with a carbon footprint closer to gypsum, Green E-Board panels are an intriguing new drywall option.

With the durability and moisture-resistance advantages of cement and a carbon footprint closer to that of gypsum, Green E-Board panels are an intriguing new option for tile backerboard, wallboard, and potentially even exterior sheathing. The panels are manufactured from magnesium oxide (MgO) cement (also known as oxychloride cement), which is produced at much lower temperatures than portland cement, thus requiring less energy. The panels are imported from China, where the use of MgO cement is common, but the importer is exploring the potential for a domestic production facility.

In addition to MgO, which makes up about 40% of the product, Green E-Board contains magnesium chloride, aluminum sulfate, calcium carbonate (chalk), sawdust, a surface mesh made of fiberglass on one side, and a non-woven polymer scrim on the other. MgO is either mined as magnesite or extracted from seawater or brine. The 3⁄8” or 1⁄2” (9 mm or 12 mm) panels are much stronger than gypsum wallboard and highly moisture resistant. In fact, it was after cleaning up tons of moldy gypsum mush after hurricane damage in 2002 that Florida developer David Ederer began pursuing alternative wallboard materials and came across panels made from MgO. He considered using a panel developed by George Swanson in Austin, Texas, but was concerned that the product development hadn’t matured to a point where it could provide consistent quality. He then brought MgO cement technology to the attention of Rodrigo Vera of Southern Cross Building Products in Boynton Beach, Florida, who arranged to have it manufactured in China.

Published April 5, 2007