Professor Gabriela Medero shows off the K-Briq (Image: Heriot-Watt University)
Researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland have developed what they claim is the world’s first brick made from 90% construction and demolition waste.
The K-Briq, which is now being produced commercially by spin-off company Kenoteq, produces a tenth of the CO2 emissions of a traditional fired brick, uses less than a tenth of the energy in its manufacture, and can be made in any colour.
Up to 85% of bricks used in Scotland are currently being imported from England or Europe, which the university said raised questions about the long-term sustainability of the sector.
The Kenoteq team now has an agreement with Hamilton’s Waste & Recycling to produce the K-Briq onsite at its recycling site.
Professor Gabriela Medero, who conceived the idea of the K-Briq more than 10 years ago, said: “I have spent many years researching building materials and have been concerned that modern construction techniques exploit raw materials without considering that they are amongst the largest contributors to carbon emissions. The amount of waste they produce is not sustainable long-term.
“The K-Briq looks like a normal brick, weighs the same and behaves like a clay brick but offers better insulation properties. It is sustainable and not kiln-fired so it is far better for the environment and represents massive savings for the construction industry in terms of related taxes.”
Dr Sam Chapman, who works in close partnership with professor Medero on Kenoteq, added: “Kenoteq has invested in machinery that can produce three million bricks per year. In the past year, we’ve produced thousands of bricks and put them through rigorous testing with the K-Briq now commercially available to construction clients. The Scottish government has set very high targets for housebuilding with 50,000 new homes earmarked for construction in the next three years. We hope Kenoteq will be part of those homes.”