Why Brick is preferred for Green Buildings
Brick is Back
Brick is often overlooked regarding its sustainable attributes, so I thought I would shed some light on the subject. According to The Brick Industry Association’s website, clay bricks are some of the most sustainable choices a Designer/Contractor could incorporate into their building for the following reasons:
- Inherently Natural Ingredients. Brick is predominantly made from clay and shale, which are among the most abundant materials available on earth.
- Countless Recycling Options. Brick can be salvaged, crushed brick for sub-base materials, and chipped brick for permanent landscaping mulch.
- Minimal Waste. Virtually all of the mined clay is used in the manufacturing process making the recycling and waste containment unequalled by any other building material. In fact, over 80% of our manufacturers re-use their own fired waste material or convert it into other products. And if you decide to pitch it, there is no special handling required because brick is simply earth, so it’s inert.
- Brick is the first masonry material that can attain a “Certificate of Environmental Claims” from a third party source. The National Brick Research Center, an organization of the College of Engineering and Science at Clemson University, has developed a standard to verify the amount of recycled content in brick, the utilization of renewable energy in the firing process, and the reduction in the amount of resources used to manufacture brick.
- Low Embodied Energy to Manufacture Brick. With clay brick’s renowned longevity, no additional energy will be needed to make a replacement brick for many decades – if not centuries. The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) gives brick masonry a 100-year life, and many brick buildings older than a century are still in use today. In fact, brick is one of the few materials that building codes allow to be reused in a building application when it meets the ASTM standard for clay brick. (The Brick Industry Association, 2015).
In addition to the aforementioned reasons to select brick, Pine Hall Brick offers additional reasons to not only choose brick, but Pine Hall Brick. For example, the manufacturing of brick is an energy intensive process, but Pine Hall Brick invests “every year in capital programs to lower our energy use per brick manufactured. Whether it’s rebuilding kilns, slight alterations to our raw material mix or using alternative fuel sources, we lowered our energy use per brick manufactured over the last ten years by 19%” (Pine Hall Brick, 2015). Furthermore, Pine Hall Brick offers permeable pavers products, RainPave or StormPave, which are permeable pavement systems that are designed to maintain or reduce stormwater runoff. Finally, Pine Hall Brick’s products are manufactured in Madison, NC and Fairmont, GA, so can be considered regional to a project location (Pine Hall Brick, 2015).
As mentioned in this article, brick is an excellent choice for any project, but especially when you consider the ingredients used to manufacture Pine Hall Brick, which are simply: clay and/or shale and water. In an age of product transparency that includes chemicals that have unknown effects and impacts on human and environmental health, we believe it is safe to say that Pine Hall Bricks material ingredients are as good as God made them…so go (Pine Hall) brick, or go home!
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