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Does brick count as a "green" building product?

QuestionMy wife and I are planning a new home and are considering a brick exterior. We'd really like to build as green as possible—does brick count as a "green" building product?

AnswerBuilding green is the hottest thing in construction today. You and your wife are definitely on the right track if you are considering a brick home.

More and more consumers like you are responding to the green movement, looking for ways to conserve natural resources and apply eco-friendly building practices. The U.S. Green Building Council (USCBG) estimates that the green market for both residential and non-residential construction will be worth $20 billion by 2010—a 150% increase from today's $8 billion value.

Brick has always been a green building material; after all, it's basically made from clay and water. Properly constructed and maintained, brick will be attractive and outlast many other siding materials.

The heavy walls of brick buildings store and slowly release heat, which eliminates temperature swings. Therefore, in hot temperatures, a brick wall deflects heat, keeping the interior cooler; while in cold temperatures, it retains heat to keep the interior warmer. The bottom line: electricity is conserved, saving energy and money.

Brick has much lower maintenance requirements than other materials, and its overall durability makes it resistant to damage from wind, water, and UV rays. An often overlooked benefit is improved air quality because the all-natural content of brick not only makes it mold resistant, but brick does not emit toxic vapors or require paint or other exterior coatings.

Finally, brick creates very little waste when it is torn down. While it is biodegradable, there are many ways a brick can be used. If deconstructed wholly, a recycled brick is an attractive option for re-use. Crushed brick can also be used for roadway sub-base or as permanent mulch in landscaping.

The information used to answer this question in part was provided by Dutcher PR firm, who represent Boral Bricks Inc., the largest manufacturer of clay, paver, and masonry products in the U.S. This company also implements environmentally aware processes at their manufacturing plants with their usage of renewable resources. To learn more on what this company has to offer on the subject of "Building Green," visit their website at www.boralbricks.com.

Good luck with your construction project!

Copyright © 2008 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.



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