ARE BRICKS SUSTAINABLE BUILDING MATERIAL?

 

Sustainability is not just about recycling or the use of carbon-free materials. Nor is it just about the energy used through the processes of sourcing, production, and transport. It’s about the whole life energy consumption of a product. Some recent research undertaken by Leeds Metropolitan University found that brick structures including traditional low-rise residential housing can have a lifespan of 500 years or more.

A brick is a natural, maintenance-friendly product, that is durable during all phases of its life cycle. In the initial construction phase from the use of raw materials, production process to packaging. Through to the operational phase through comfort, maintenance, flexibility and safety and finally during the demolition phase through reuse and recycling of bricks to be purchased from a company like LRBM. After removing the remains of mortar, bricks remain reusable and can be recovered, recycled or reused for new projects. Reclaimed products can give a building an exceptional appearance and character with many local authorities insisting that builders have to use reclaimed bricks on all new projects. The decision to demolish a building is usually not because of the state of the external bricks, even if those bricks are a hundred years old. Often the old structure no longer meets the current requirements and the decision is made to reconstruct the building.

Bricks are very durable products and temperature changes do not cause them to expand or shrink. Due to this mechanical resistance, bricks are well suited to large buildings. The porous structure of bricks offers a huge advantage; the ability to accumulate heat. In winter, during sunny days, bricks can store heat from the sun and radiate the energy back when necessary. During the summer they can buffer the heat and thus avoid overheating of the building. It is often said by many experts that bricks only get better and better with age. In contrast to other materials, a brick will not rot, rust, erode or decay and wind, rain or snow will not damage a brick, the weather, in fact, enhances them. The maintenance involved is minimal for a brick wall for example – repointing may be necessary after roughly 68 years for cavity walls and 113 years for solid walls. Bricks require no maintenance and after a period of time, the external brickwork even obtains a certain luster. It adds charm to a residence because no maintenance is required, the impact of the building on the environment is much smaller.

If you’re worried about sustainability for your project think before you buy and carefully plan your building supplies to keep wastage of materials to a minimum. Calculate the quantities of bricks you will need for the job, allowing 10% for wastage. Timely ordering of materials ensures that supplies arrive when required, and reduces storage where they could be damaged or stolen from your site. Think about specifying materials that have good recyclate content like our reclaimed bricks as this will help to reduce your carbon footprint.

For more information on our reclaimed bricks or to take advantage of our free brick matching service, call our sales team on 02084521111 or email: sales@lrbm.com who will be happy to help. You can also pop into our London and Buckinghamshire branches which are open from 8 am to 5 pm every weekday and every Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm.