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Project Green – Building with Clay Bricks

Part 1 to 3 covered the location, green activities, insulation and building materials.  We know take a look at Part 4 - building with clay bricks

Read Part One, Part Two and Part Three

“Our dream for the energy efficient house, which we will be building on Lekwena Wildlife Estate, is to create an environment that keeps its occupants cool during the hot summer months, and warm and cosy in winter, whilst at the same time assists them in saving on monthly electricity and structural maintenance costs” noted Carl Venter, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom.

Carl added that the first building material that they selected for this goal is the clay brick. After doing their research and taking an in-depth look at the bricks, they were convinced of the many benefits that building with these type of bricks offer.

Although there are various alternative building materials which might also be energy efficient and green, they specifically opted to use clay bricks due to the combination of energy efficiency, durability, longevity and the fact that their market responds well to – and even favours clay bricks. They want to create a model that is extremely energy efficient, helps its occupants to save on costs and still resonates well with their local Potchefstroom market.

Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom partnered with Berts Bricks – a local and very successful clay brick manufacturer. Berts Bricks is a family business that was established 75 years ago with ample experience in sustainable and green building methods. “It is a privilege partnering with a company of their expertise on Project Green” added Helandi Moolman, Marketing Manager of Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom.

The clay bricks were evaluated according to a few key factors that play an important role in the energy efficiency and sustainable use of natural resources, which are listed below:

Natural Material

The main reason why clay bricks are so energy efficient, is because they are 'from the earth'. Clay bricks comprise of two natural resources: clay and shale, making it a natural building material. Since building 'green' or living 'green' also means opting for natural products as far as possible – clay brick is an excellent choice.

Environmental Impact

Clay bricks do not release any VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) that can impact the air quality.

Recyclable & Reusable

Being made of natural materials, clay bricks can be recycled in a sustainable manner by using it as aggregate for brick production and concrete production. Clay bricks can also be reused as masonry and pavers.

Inert Qualities

Clay bricks do not release toxic fumes or gasses under normal conditions or during fire.

Sound Insulation

The weight of clay bricks offer good acoustic protection.

Thermal Capacity for a comfortable indoor climate

Another advantage of using clay bricks is the fact that they are able to breathe and to 'self-regulate', thus creating a warm, dry, allergen and mould-free interior. 

Physical Attributes

Clay bricks have a natural tendency to absorb moisture from the air when the relative humidity is high and release the moisture when the indoor air is dry to maintain an ideal thermal balance.

Structural Integrity and Longevity

Clay bricks have a very lengthy life span and have proven integrity over 100 years – and well beyond. 

Durability

The low maintenance qualities, as well as their colour-fast feature ensure that you will save on future renovation as well as on future carbon emissions associated with renovating.

Transport

In order to minimise transport Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom partnered with a local clay brick manufacturer just outside of Potchefstroom as mentioned above.


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