Its been an interesting few months at Enduro Builders. We have two enquirers from couples wishing to build brick veneer homes. To most of you, this might sound quite normal, and they are by far the most common building method in Australia (see below for an example of some different types of wall construction).
Whats interesting is that we have been focused very hard on lightweight frames, clad with foam, timber and exterior claddings such as colorbond and Weathertex. This has been as a result of our commitment to maximising the energy efficiency of your home and building using low embodied energy products as much as possible.
Bricks are generally a high embodied energy product. Brick requires 5170 Mj of energy to create per cubic meter! according to a report authored by H. J. Holtzhousen.
So, having two projects to price with Brick Veneer, sent us searching for a low embodied energy version of this tried and tested building product. It turns out, one already exists, and is being made by Austral Bricks’ Longford facility near Launceston, Tasmania, these bricks are fired in a kiln fuelled by sawdust, a by-product of the local Tasmanian timber industry and also a biomass material.
Saw dust! What a fantastic way to re-use and recycle waste in order to make an otherwise high embodied energy product, low embodied!
Thinking of building a brick home? Perhaps if we can work through some of the other shortcomings of brick as an external cladding (internally it can be brilliant when used correctly) we may see Bricks become a leader in the Green Building Revolution!