Sustainable Blocks

Blocks and the Environment – thermal properties and sustainability of blocks

Sustainable Blocks and the Environment

Some of this content comes from the Federal Government website which explores the subject of environmentally sustainable homes. Reproduced with thanks.

Bricks and blocks are a durable construction product that remains one of the most popular materials in Australia. Materials used can include brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine and limestone, concrete and others. 

Brickwork is usually left exposed for aesthetic reasons whilst blockwork is usually rendered.

There are four main ways to use bricks and blocks to make walls.

Each method has its environmental and economic merits and it is important to understand the reasons for choosing any given method in building your home. 

  • Brick veneer — A commonly used approach in which bricks form the external skin of a timber-framed home
  • Reverse brick veneer — Bricks form the internal skin of an insulated, framed home
  • Double brick — Consists of two leaves of brickwork with a cavity
  • Solid brick — A high thermal mass construction mostly used for internal walls

Brick Veneer

Conventional brick veneer construction places the bricks on the outside of the building, where there is only a small contribution to the thermal performance of the building.

The advantage is that bricks are long-lasting and low-maintenance products. 

Reverse brick veneer

In reverse brick veneer, the brickwork or blockwork is the inside skin tied to an otherwise conventional lightweight stud-framed construction. The advantage of this style of construction is that the thermal mass of the brick produces high-performing buildings with lower than average energy demands for both heating and cooling.

Double brick

In double brick, the two leaves of brick walls are separated by a cavity that reduces thermal transmission and prevents moisture from being transferred directly from the outside wall face to the interior of the building. 

Solid brick

Solid brick or blockwork walls deliver good load-bearing capacity along with substantial thermal mass to provide a unique combination of structural, thermal and aesthetic benefits.

This brochure from the Your Home website provides more detail on thermal performance, aesthetics and construction using bricks and blocks.

And here is the link to their website for more information on building a sustainable home.