Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Seamus Daniel (RMIT University)

Scientists transform waste into energy-smart bricks

Property & Construction

The new bricks could help building owners save on their energy bills

Spotted: Climate change is leading to increasingly extreme weather – including hotter summers and colder winters – and energy-intensive systems are increasingly being called on to keep inside temperatures comfortable. Now, engineers at RMIT Australia have developed a new solution: energy-smart bricks.

Teaming up with the country’s largest recycling company Visy, the researchers replaced the clay content in their bricks with waste materials: at least 15 per cent discarded glass that can’t otherwise be recycled and 20 per cent combusted solid waste (ash).

Switching up the brick’s recipe meant it could be fired at temperatures 20 per cent lower than typically required, which could lead to significant cost and energy savings for manufacturers. And because the bricks’ insulating ability was boosted with the new elements, tests found that the new bricks could cut energy bills by five per cent in an ordinary single-storey building.

Now, the team is working to scale up production so that its solution may be commercialised and hopes to explore other ways waste can be incorporated into other construction materials.

Springwise has spotted other circular building materials, including cement binders and sustainable building cladding.

Written By: Matilda Cox

Email: dilan.robert@rmit.edu.au

Website: rmit.edu.au

Contact: rmit.edu.au/contact

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