Are eco-friendly bricks the future or a flop?

The following is a guest post by Brick Hunter.

As the topic of global warming remains in daily discussions, the construction industry is always trying to find ways to make buildings more eco-friendly. Home insulation can help your home retain heat, which is better for the environment and your yearly bills. Recently, more construction companies are talking about eco-friendly bricks.

Building bricks that are used to build homes and commercial buildings are made from clay and shale. They are fired in a kiln at over 1,000 degrees Celsius. This heating process is very harmful to the environment. Every year more than 1.3 trillion bricks are produced worldwide and the production process releases over 800 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As the concern for global warming grows, eco-friendly bricks are being considered as an alternative.

What are eco-friendly bricks?

Eco-friendly bricks are made from alternative materials that are considered ‘greener’ than the materials used in ordinary building bricks.  Along with containing greener materials, the production process of these bricks releases less CO2 into the air.

There are currently a number of different eco-friendly bricks on the market, such as:

Hempcrete bricks

Instead of concrete, these bricks are made from hemp, lime and water.

Benefits: Bricks made of hempcrete are said to be seven times stronger than concrete. When a building moves, concrete is vulnerable to cracking while hempcrete isn’t. The strength of these eco-bricks suggests they will be able to survive against earthquakes.

Hempcrete eco-friendly bricks can be used in many different types of building work, such as foundations, roofing, flooring and brickwork.

Another positive feature of these bricks: They’re 100% recyclable. When they are no longer needed, they can be used as fertilizer.

Microbial-induced eco bricks

Construction would be so much easier if you could grow your own bricks. Ginger Krieg Dosier won the Dutch Postcode Lottery Green challenge with her eco bricks. From her research, Dosier learned bacteria was responsible for forming some sandstones. By using sand, bacteria, and a unique forming process, she can ‘grow’ bricks.

These bricks are still being designed, but they have the potential to be incredibly eco-friendly because they release no CO2. When these bricks are produced, no materials are wasted.

Recycled newspaper bricks

Two researchers have created bricks from recycled newspaper.

Professors Rahul Ralegaonkar and Sachin Mandavgane learned that over 10% of newspaper cannot be recycled. As India was undergoing a brick shortage, they decided to try and create bricks from newspaper. They succeeded.

These bricks look like real bricks and they are eco-friendly, but they’re lighter and not as suitable to use as foundation bricks. They can be used as wall partitions and false ceilings.

Are eco-friendly bricks the future?

Eco-friendly bricks are beneficial for the environment. Unlike regular building bricks that release tons of carbon dioxide during production, eco bricks don’t release harmful amounts of CO2.

While eco bricks offer greener opportunities in brick production, the question to ask is: are they practical?

Bricks like the hempcrete bricks are suitable as an alternative for brick building. However, recycled newspaper bricks cannot be used in structural construction. You can’t just use any type of eco-friendly bricks, so you’ll have to do your research to find out what the bricks are suitable for.

Although eco bricks are better for the environment, some construction companies are likely to continue using regular bricks for now. Environmentally friendly bricks take longer to make and, because of the controlled production process, they cost more.

Without a doubt, eco-friendly bricks are the future but it will take time before they are used on a mass scale.

Currently, there aren’t many environmentally friendly bricks on the market but they are a solution to future eco-friendly building.

Brickhunter specializes in finding any type of brick you need. Did you know there are over 5000 styles of bricks available? It can be a nuisance for builders and construction companies when they can’t get the bricks they need for their projects. Brickhunter has a unique brick stock network that connects them to brick merchants throughout the UK. If you need help finding a brick or you want eco-friendly bricks in your next build, contact Brickhunter.

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