Sustainable, energy-efficient building materials

by Zuerita
Sustainable, energy-efficient building materials

With reducing the energy consumption of buildings at the forefront of the minds of many local designers, architects, specifiers and contractors, built environment professionals are increasingly looking for ways to create spaces that reduce the cost of electricity use as well as greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, many of them seek out the lowest-cost materials, irrespective of their capacity to improve thermal performance.

Cheap cement is flooding South African markets from India and China, making cement bricks, block and slabs popular with property developers.

Thermal mass for better insulation

Luckily, South Africa doesn’t experience extremely cold temperatures, but cooling offices and residences during our hot summers is often a problem. Air-conditioners work day and night to maintain thermal comfort. One of the long-term ways to create more energy-efficient buildings, is to use building materials that have thermal mass for better insulation against temperature extremes. Thermal mass improves energy efficiency by up to 22%.

The CSIR’s revised Energy Zone map of South Africa.

Bricks for green buildings

Clay brick construction is increasingly being recognised as a vital component of green building in the ongoing quest to find solutions that eliminate or meaningfully reduce adverse impacts of development on the environment and its occupants.

Masonry construction has inherent high thermal mass. This enables a building to store heat and remain cooler for longer than lightweight structures. It deals efficiently with temperature extremes in both summer and winter so that, regardless of how hot it gets outside in the daytime or how much cooler it gets inside the house at night, the interior remains comfortable.

Clay Brick Association
Tel: 011 805 4206
Website: www.claybrick.org.


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