Dubai-based Apex Concrete Products recently launched production of concrete blocks which offer thermal insulation properties. These products are already being used on a number of villa projects in Dubai and a 12-storey building in Sharjah, according to a spokesman for the company.

Marketed under the brand name Apex ThermoBlock, these products are very much in line with the thinking of the Dubai Government and Dubai Municipality and are designed to reduce wasteful energy consumption, according to the spokesman.

"The product is cost effective and offers a range of distinctive advantages that are not available in normal masonry blocks," he says. "These concrete blocks incorporate high-density polystyrene inserts, which give them their high thermal insulation properties. They can be used even for freezer rooms and sauna/steam rooms.

"As the block is basically made of concrete, there is no problem of moisture absorption, unlike pumice and autoclaved blocks."

Among some of the other advantages cited for the product are its excellent sound insulation properties and light weight, being 25 per cent lighter than conventional concrete blocks, he says.