FACTS ABOUT BRICK

  • THERMAL COMFORT

  • SOUND INSULATION

  • DURABILITY

  • SUSTAINABILITY

  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY

  • FIRE-PROOF

  • STRUCTURAL CAPABILITY

  • LIFE CYCLE PERFORMANCE

FACTS ABOUT BRICK

THERMAL COMFORT

THERMAL COMFORT

Human thermal comfort is the state of mind that expresses satisfaction with the surrounding environment and was first explored by Ole Fanger in the 1970s. Fanger's studies of thermal comfort found that not everyone will be satisfied by a particular set of environmental conditions, but in ranges of conditions about 80% express satisfaction.

 

The Australian Greenhouse Office defines thermal mass in the following way: "Thermal Mass is the ability of a material to absorb heat energy. A lot of heat energy is required to change the temperature of high density materials like bricks, concrete and tiles. They are therefore said to have high thermal mass. Lightweight materials such as timber have low thermal mass. Appropriate use of thermal mass throughout your home can make a big difference to comfort and heating and cooling bills."

 

• Correct use of thermal mass moderates internal temperatures by averaging day/night (diurnal) extremes. This increases comfort and reduces energy costs.
• Poor use of thermal mass can exacerbate the worst extremes of the climate and can be a huge energy and comfort liability. It can radiate heat all night during a summer heatwave, or absorb all the heat you produce on a winter night."
• Incorporating materials with inherent thermal mass into buildings will reduce their reliance on mechanical heating and cooling which saves on energy consumption while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Research currently underway at The University of Newcastle proves this and has shown double brick or 'cavity' brick construction to be the most effective way of building thermal mass into the average family home.
• The research found that an insulated cavity brick home was almost 18 degrees Celsius cooler than the outside temperature, without any artificial cooling, as temperatures soared to record levels on New Year’s Day 2006.

 

For more information: TBA Manual Energy Efficiency and the Environment

 

SOUND INSULATION

SOUND INSULATION

Whether between rooms within a home or from noise outside, brick provides superior sound insulation. So whether it’s the garbage truck outside at 5 am or your teenager’s drum kit at 11 pm, you can enjoy more peace and quiet in your own home. The heavy mass of clay brick masonry is ideal for acoustic insulation, particularly for low frequency noise, and cavity masonry walls have the added benefit of isolating impact sounds. It possesses an inherent resistance to the passage of airborne sound, which makes it a superior performer in attenuating low-frequency, airborne noise caused by building mechanical systems, elevators, amplified music, traffic and aircraft. Although some alternative systems may perform as well as masonry for frequencies in the speech range, these lower mass systems have difficulty insulating against low-frequency noise.

For more information: TBA Manual 11 Design of Clay Masonry for Sound Insulation

DURABILITY

DURABILITY

Brick is permanent. Once it's built it remains weatherproof and age proof. Brick doesn't get tired like man-made materials, so it requires virtually no upkeep or repairs, giving you both a sound mind and a sound home. Bricks don't rust or erode, rot or decay, bend, twist or warp. Brick is a great protector - against the extremes of the Australian climate - heat and cold. Australia is a country of extremes. At any one time, different parts of our continent can be experiencing bushfires, floods, severe storms and drought. And climate change researchers suggest that conditions may soon become even more extreme. Many brick buildings only improve their appearance with age - The Great Wall of China is still looking great after more than 2,000 years.

Brick doesn't need paint or other treatments to maintain aesthetics and durability. Even after 50 years it is still strong, reliable and relatively maintenance free, saving you on the cost and time required to upkeep lighter weight materials. Most brick colours and textures hide rain streaking, whereas plain or painted wall finishes such as render tend to show these and if damaged, are expensive and time-consuming to repair.

If you are building within 1km of surf coast and 100m of non-surf coast, or on harsh soils (such as former tip sites or converted industrial land) you should use Exposure Grade bricks. These bricks are made to withstand high salt conditions. In conditions like these, Exposure Grade bricks are the most affordable building material - designed for harsh Australian conditions.

SUSTAINABILITY

SUSTAINABILITY

Bricks have thrived over thousands of years because of their longevity, durability and a number of factors that contribute to their inherent sustainability.

They require minimal maintenance, create highly energy efficient buildings and perform multiple functions, reducing environmental impacts from other materials.

For more information: TBA Manual 08 Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

If you're about to build a home, you have a lot of things to think about. And none more important than the material you build your home from, at which point we urge you to Think Brick. Brick insulates in a way most materials do not. It keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, saving on energy bills and making your home a more comfortable place to be.

Did you know that according to the Australian Greenhouse Office, heating and cooling make up 39% of the average home's energy use? By combining bricks and insulation in your home, you can save on energy needed for heating and cooling of your home when compared to a home made of lightweight construction materials.

According to the Australian Greenhouse Office, "Thermal Mass is the ability of a material to absorb heat energy. A lot of heat energy is required to change the temperature of high density materials like bricks, concrete and tiles. They are therefore said to have high thermal mass. Lightweight materials such as timber have low thermal mass. Appropriate use of thermal mass throughout your home can make a big difference to comfort and heating and cooling bills.” (Source: www.yourhome.gov.au)

This is corroborated by our ongoing research with the University of Newcastle, who has conducted extensive testing on brick and lightweight housing in the Australian climate. Read more in our Technical Manuals and Research Findings on Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

By using bricks in conjunction with good solar passive design and insulation, home owners can now create a house that requires no artificial heating or cooling in nearly all parts of Australia, significantly reducing energy use. Building with brick helps reduce internal temperature fluctuations ensuring comfortable living and working conditions throughout the day or year. Brick's exceptional thermal mass means that it absorbs heat and slows down heat transfer. In summer, brick gradually absorbs heat from the sun and keeps the building cooler during the hottest part of the day. In winter, the brick holds the building's heat longer, keeping occupants warmer. For more information, go to (design for climate link). Over a 50 year period, life cycle analysis (LCA) shows that most energy (89%) is used in the operational phase of a house, rather than in the building process. In particular, heating, ventilation and air conditioning represent a bigger source of greenhouse gas emissions than manufacture and construction, so it makes sense to focus on building your house to reduce operational energy by using materials with a high thermal mass such as brick.

For more information: TBA Manual Energy Efficiency and the Environment

FIRE-PROOF

FIRE-PROOF

Bricks are non-combustible and don't assist the spread of fire, making them ideal for building in bushfire-prone areas. Clay bricks normally do not suffer any structural damage after a fire and can be re-used even as load bearing walls. After all, Bricks are kiln-fired at temperatures up to 1200 degrees Celsius (a standard kitchen oven operates up to about 250 degrees Celsius).
Bricks alone won't fire proof a building - timber and plastic are flammable and glass shatters in the heat - but building in brick will provide a strong foundation to protecting your investment.

For more information: TBA Manual 05 Design of Clay Masonry Walls for Fire Resistance

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STRUCTURAL CAPABILITY

STRUCTURAL CAPABILITY

Brick has long been a popular choice with architects and building designers because it blends easily with existing buildings while offering endless sculptural capabilities as well as intricate detailing. The latest trends in open plan living are easily achieved with brick and there is the added benefit of excellent sound insulation. There are now over 800 colours to choose from and many different finishes from sleek glossy blacks and metallics to rough-hewn rustic bricks with a hand-crafted appearance.
Whether the site is a contemporary cliff-top retreat, inner-city live/work terrace, school, art gallery or heritage restoration project, there are bricks to suit any building style.

For more information: TBA Awards , Case Study

LIFE CYCLE PERFORMANCE

LIFE CYCLE PERFORMANCE

Life cycle analysis is not just about the energy used to create a material (embodied energy), but also the energy used once the house is built (energy efficiency). Thanks to brick's thermal mass, a brick house performs across all areas of a life cycle analysis: durable and long lasting, energy efficient, and low maintenance. So, if you assume a brick home will stay standing for 50 years, then brick's overall energy efficiency performance is similar to that of other popular building materials. But the longer a brick home stands beyond that, the more energy efficient it becomes across its life. 

For more information: TBA Manual 08 Sustainability and Energy Efficiency