An impressive case for the sustainable potential of brick has been provided by the recently completed £1.95m HQ building for Neal’s Yard Remedies in Gillingham, Dorset.
Architect Feilden Clegg Bradley’s strong environmental agenda led it to specify unfired clay bricks as a means of reducing the embodied energy of the structure and help give the project the potential of developing into a zero carbon manufacturing facility.
Project architect Alex Morris explains: “Because the building is of predominantly lightweight construction, we wanted to increase its thermal mass to help regulate summer temperatures. The embodied energy of the unfired bricks is lower than most high mass materials.”
Dried in waste heat from the kilns, the “green” bricks were found to have an average compressive strength of 4.9 N/mm2, allowing their use internally to support their self-weight. They were finished with a breathable clay plaster and are expected to contribute to a healthier workplace by absorbing and releasing moisture into the environment.
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