The advance of CEB into the construction industry has been driven by manufacturers of the mechanical presses, a small group of eco-friendly contractors and by cultural acceptance of the medium in areas where it is seen as superior to adobe. In the United States, most general contractors building with CEB are in the Southwestern states: New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, and to a lesser extent in Texas. However, manufacturers of the mechanical presses enjoy their heaviest sales overseas. Mexico and Third World countries have been attractive markets for the presses for years.
The advantages of CEB are in the wait time for material, the elimination of shipping cost, the low moisture content, and the uniformity of the block thereby minimizing, if not eliminating the use of mortar and decreasing both the labor and materials costs.
* CEB can be pressed from humid earth. Because it is not wet, the drying time is much shorter. Some soil conditions permit the blocks to go straight from the press onto the wall. A single mechanical press can produce from 800 to over 5,000 blocks per day, enough to build a 1,200 square feet (110 m2) house in one day.
* Shipping cost: Suitable soils are often available at or near the construction site. Adobe and CEB are of similar weight, but distance from a source supply gives CEB an advantage. Also, CEB can be made available in places where adobe manufacturing operations are non-existent.
* Uniformity: CEB can be manufactured to a predictable size and has true flat sides and 90-degree angle edges. This makes design and costing easier. This also provides the contractor the option of making the exteriors look like conventional stucco houses.
CEB had very limited use prior to the 1980s. It was known in the 1950s in South America, where the Cinva Ram was developed by Raul Ramirez in the Inter-American Housing Center (CINVA) in Bogota, Colombia. The Cinva Ram is a lever-action, manual press that makes one block at a time.