Green Building Guide

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285brickCommon clay house bricks as a building material have the advantage of high thermal mass, so they can be used to store or absorb heat to help provide temperature stability inside a home. However, to do this, they must be on the inside of a home, not on the outside.


The standard brick veneer home is actually built inside-out, meaning the thermal mass of the bricks is insulated from the inside of the home, so the homeowner doesn't get to use this mass for heat storage. Reverse brick-veneer construction involves having the bricks on the inside and the thermally insulative cladding on the outside.


While bricks have a high thermal mass, they have a low insulating ability, so they should always be used in conjunction with a good level of insulation. This is usually placed in the cavity between the bricks and the plasterboard (in standard brick veneer) or the bricks and the cladding (in reverse brick veneer). Some homes have double brick walls, and these usually have a cavity between the walls, although it is not always well insulated.


Being vitreous materials, bricks also have a high embodied energy as they are fired in a kiln to a high temperature, but their long life and reusability helps offset this. Some bricks are made of concrete, but this also has a high embodied energy.


In recent years, eco bricks have appeared on the scene. These are either recycled conventional bricks which are salvaged from demolition sites and then cleaned for reuse, or they are bricks made from alternative materials. The latter vary in composition, but often contain waste materials like fly ash or crushed brick or rubble, and are usually not kilned, but rather compressed and air dried. The embodied energy of recycled and alternative material bricks is much lower than regular new clay bricks.



EcoBrick -
Ph. 1300 326 274

Geobricks -
Ph. 1300 855 098

Uneeda Bricks -
Ph. 03 9558 2772

Listed suppliers are a guide and are not endorsed by Green Cross Australia or the Alternative Technology Association.

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