The future of bricks: Red, Cambridge and carbon neutral

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Bricks – the foundation of so many homes across Australia come in a range of varieties and colours. And now in Carbon Neutral.

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Bricks – the foundation of so many homes across Australia come in a range of varieties and colours. Red, Cambridge, Red & Black, and a lot more besides. And now in Carbon Neutral.

Austral Bricks are the group behind the first carbon neutral bricks to Australia, and now have the certification – they are the first in the world – to prove it.

Now, when I hear the words carbon and neutral, I almost immediately think of paying an extra $3 on top of my plane ticket. That’s $3 which I usually choose to keep for a coffee or contribute for the additional airport pick-up fare for cabs.

However, carbon neutral in brick terms needn’t mean the same thing. It’s not an additional offset like airline tickets; it is Austral Brick’s manufacturing process that earns the official carbon neutral certification stamp of approval from the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard.

This manufacturing process includes the use of waste sawdust (which is a biomass) from the local Tasmanian timber industry as a fuel to fire kilns. The sawdust firing reduces the amount of c02 emitted annually by 5,916 tonnes in comparison to using natural gas. (The company also recently switched from coal fired generation).

The brick making process which emit c02 including such things as transport, fuel usage, water usage, and waste handling among others are offset through purchasing carbon offsets locally in Tasmania through Forests Alive.

Apart from the production of the bricks being carbon neutral, once used in the building of a house they can be a great energy saver too by regulating internal temperatures – keeping your house cool in summer and warm in the winter. They also require less maintenance in the long run.

Austral Bricks claim that bricks with their high thermal mass can save up to 25 per cent off annual energy bills.

Carbon Neutral bricks currently represent a mere 1 per cent of the brick market in Australia – and with only 1 factory producing them (that one currently based in Tasmania) the short term market growth options are somewhat limited.

Making other brick factories in Australia go carbon neutral will be the obvious goal for Austral Bricks to grab a bigger chunk of the brick pie, and with 1 billion bricks per annum in the Australian market alone, it’s a big pie.

Prices for the carbon neutral brick start at around $1850 per thousand (or $1.85 if you’re building a very, very small home).

 

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