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Ecological bricks: what are they, types and advantages

Ecological bricks

Green bricks are a key element in green architecture. However, the term groups different types of materials and their benefits can also be very different.

Despite their differences, all of them will have in common a series of advantages at an environmental or sustainability level. In this article we are going to make a brief and simple introduction to the subject, which is actually much broader and more complex. Keep reading this EcologiaVerde article and learn the most important things about ecological bricks: what they are, types and advantages .

You may also be interested in: What are sustainable ecological houses
  1. What are ecological bricks
  2. Types of ecological bricks
  3. The advantages of green or ecological bricks

What are ecological bricks

We usually associate bricks with a polluting material. That’s right, except for ecological bricks or eco-bricks . Today, the use of ecological bricks is unusual, although historically more sustainable building materials were used on a regular basis.

Among others, straw, mud or wood, let’s say. Currently, conventional bricks require a lot of energy to manufacture, so the environmental impact is important.

Of course, it must be recognized that more and more ecological initiatives are trying to reinvent or replace traditional bricks using sustainable materials or promoting sustainability with their use that helps us save energy. Or, what is the same, to offset the carbon footprint by acting as insulation for the house.

Thus, we will define ecological bricks as those whose manufacture does not imply an environmental impact as great as that of conventional ones. Both the type of materials used and their manufacturing process and functionality can determine that they are.

Logically, we will find more ecological bricks than others, depending on their level of sustainability in some and other aspects. Otherwise, green bricks provide the same or even greater strength than traditional bricks. Used within an architectural plan of green building, they can offer us the same aesthetic qualities and advantages in terms of comfort and safety.

Find out more in this other AgroCorrn article about Sustainable Construction or architecture .

Types of ecological bricks

These are the main types of eco-bricks or ecological bricks and their characteristics:

  • The coal ash bricks invented by Henry Liu in 1999 are a great way to recycle the ashes generated in coal-fired power plants, while taking advantage of their high temperatures for their manufacture.
  • A similar version, still in the prototype phase, is the black brick proposed by a team at MIT led by Michael Laracy and Thomas Poinot, who propose to make them from the waste produced by the paper industry in India. Its objective is to find an alternative to the traditional red clay brick so that that country does not continue to deplete its natural resources, while taking advantage of these wastes.
  • Hemp and straw or peanut shell bricks are also well known . In both cases, we obtain very resistant bricks with great insulating properties, which help us save on heating and air conditioning bills while taking care of the planet.
  • The irregular brick shown in the image that opens the post is an example of a conventional brick, as it is made of clay, which nevertheless provides us with ecological advantages thanks to its insulating capacity. Basically, they are bricks that add up the geometric shapes of a triangle and a rectangle to curb the heat and thus keep the house cool. Likewise, acoustic insulation is achieved and the facade can remain as it is, since its appearance is aesthetic.
  • On the other hand, earth or compressed sand bricks are more expensive and brittle than conventional bricks or concrete blocks, but provide much better insulation. In other words, we will need to carry out a subsequent insulation that will increase the cost and the carbon footprint.
  • In a cutting-edge key, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in collaboration with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, proposes a novel material as light as airgel, also called frozen smoke . It is capable of supporting up to 160,000 times its own weight and can be easily produced with 3D printing.
  • There are also those bricks that do not have a known inventor, widely used thanks to word of mouth, and in this the internet has a good part of the merit. This is the case, for example, of eco-bricks made with household waste , such as recycled plastic bricks , ideal for making a wall or a small house. For this we will use plastic bottles in which we will introduce sand or other non-organic waste, such as paper, cardboard or plastic bags. The objective is to fill them with materials that provide resistance to the bottles. Once achieved, we group them in a mold into which we will pour cement to fill the gaps. In this way, when they dry we will get bricks of a good size, which we can use as a block.

The advantages of green or ecological bricks

At this point, it is easy to understand that since ecological bricks encompass a very wide casuistry, they also have very different advantages. Analyzing each brick is the best way, therefore, to choose the one that best suits our preferences and needs.

In general, however, we can mention some advantages of ecological bricks , although they are not always fulfilled, without implying that they are not. Between them:

  • Lower environmental impact.
  • Insulating capacity against cold, heat, noise and humidity.
  • Savings, both when acquiring or manufacturing them in an artisan way and amortizing them through the energy savings they provide.

Finally, they are also usually lighter, thus reducing construction times and the effort required by workers. Without forgetting, of course, the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity that favors the manufacture of many of them.

If you want to read more articles similar to Ecological bricks: what they are, types and advantages , we recommend that you enter our Ecological Technology category .

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