What role does brickwork play in Net Zero 2050?

ACCORDING TO THE LATEST IPCC REPORT, limiting CO2 emissions in the next decade is crucial to the cli
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December 7, 2021

ACCORDING TO THE LATEST IPCC REPORT, limiting CO2 emissions in the next decade is crucial to the climate change emergency. The UK is the world's first major economy to set a binding target to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.

As first-movers, the UK gives place to the Green Industrial Revolution. Capitalising on severe opportunities for architects and project managers as the UK government sets out to support the decarbonisation of industry through various fundings and incentives.

If you are considering the environmental impact of your next project, keep reading for the best practices. This article covers the importance of brickworks in attaining Net Zero due to sustainable building materials, characteristics of green architecture and sustainable construction design.

The Circular Economy in the Built Environment

Nowadays, a widely extended view emphasises product recycling as part of the Circular Economy. However, although crucial, this interpretation is most commonly applied to consumer goods. For instance, a building deconstruction entails a higher carbon footprint and cost than recycling phone parts.

Hence, the Circular Economy in the built environment harnesses the design, construction, and maintenance of structures that can satisfy different occupants needs while minimising resource consumption—prioritising longevity, material quality, and versatility. Therefore, buildings can transition from domestic to commercial or residential use over time without demolishing.

The latest Brick Development Association’s sustainability report highlights four green building design models for architectures. Those are practical applications of the Circular Economy in the built environment that are instrumental to reaching Net Zero.

  • Design for longevity: use of long-lasting, high-quality materials, resilient to daily use and climate conditions.
  • Design for service: Provide superb occupant experiences through low-maintenance needs, non-toxic materials, and wellbeing-focused layouts.  
  • Design for reuse and refurbishment: Designers should bear in mind potential upgradable fixtures to create adaptable spaces.
  • Design for material recovery: Building Information Modelling (BIM) taps into material traceability by facilitating original supplier repairs or reclaiming materials for recycling after demolitions.  

Okay, great! These are fantastic green architecture techniques, but what sustainable construction materials should I use to build an eco-friendly house or a sustainable building? You guessed it right; the answer is bricks. We tell you everything about it below!

UK Brick’s role in sustainable building design and road to Net Zero

The good news is that bricks are strongly aligned with the best standards of sustainable construction explored here, contributing towards Net Zero. Let us show you more!

To specify sustainable construction products, designers should ensure the use of high-quality, long-lasting fabric to design for longevity. Similarly, bricks have a 150 years life expectancy, if not longer, for many brick types.

Further, part of the sustainability of brickwork is due to brick high thermal mass, which means that bricks limit building temperature changes, resulting in reduced energy waste. Cool right? Save up money on electricity by using bricks.

More reasons to choose brickwork for great service designs include the low upkeep of bricks over time (re-pointing might be necessary after 60 years) instead of high-level maintenance for other materials such as rendering or timber.

Likewise, the primary materials employed for bricks are clay and water, which are non-toxic and allergen-free, enhancing design service level and building adaptability.

You have probably seen old brick buildings, gorgeous, right? A thing that characterises these is how beautifully brickwork weathers with time. Because brick weathers well with age, buildings retain their value for multiple periods of ownership, which augments their reuse and refurbishment design.

Similarly, upgrades or subdivisions are simpler on brick than modular structures, providing more accessible adaptation from residential to commercial or the other way around.

Lastly, when demolishing a building, it is an option to reclaim the brick (new emerging robotic technologies automate this process) to give it a second life- recycling. Moreover, compared to other cladding materials such as timber and render, bricks are more easily reused and need littler packing per tonne.


Bricks are an eco-friendly building material ideal for your next green project, thanks to their numerous benefits such as durability, temperature resistance, adaptability and more. Such characteristics make brickworks an essential part of the Circular Economy, contributing to a better world with Net Zero emissions. We can help you choose the right brick for you. Request a sample today for your sustainable construction.

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