The Research Data is in: Brick is officially the most thermally efficient building material

• October 27, 2011

Research by Think Brick Australia in collaboration with The University of Newcastle’s faculty of engineering has shown that Brick is officially the most thermally efficient building material.

+ Press release

The Research Data is in: Brick is officially the most thermally efficient building material

New research undertaken by Think Brick Australia, in collaboration with The University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, has just proven once and for all that clay brick produces superior, energy efficient, sustainable environments for people to live, work and play.

think brick 1 600x400 The Research Data is in: Brick is officially the most thermally efficient building material

Image courtesy Think Brick Australia

In 2002, Think Brick embarked on a ten-year thermal research program to understand how clay masonry can best achieve sustainable design. The first phase was completed this year and shows that, in terms of energy efficiency, cavity brick is Australia’s best building material by far.

think brick 3 600x385 The Research Data is in: Brick is officially the most thermally efficient building material

Image courtesy Think Brick Australia

The key findings of Think Brick’s first phase of research were:

  • Insulated cavity brick was the highest performer in producing energy efficient housing
  • Thermal mass in floors alone is not sufficient to reduce extremes in temperature
  • There is no correlation between the R-Value of a wall and energy usage
  • R-Value is not the sole predictor of thermal performance
  • Lightweight buildings perform the worst in all seasons
  • Brick veneer performs better than lightweight building materials.

The research project has now proven what builders have guessed for thousands of years. Blessed with high thermal mass – the ability to store and slowly release heat – clay brick combined with insulation delivers a superior building material.

The findings showed irrefutably that thermal mass of cavity brick levels out temperature swings during the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

think brick 2 600x400 The Research Data is in: Brick is officially the most thermally efficient building material

Image courtesy Think Brick Australia

That means clay brick housing does not need the same level of artificial cooling during peak electricity demands in summer as other forms of construction.

Occupants of brick houses therefore experience greater comfort and less frequent need for air conditioning. Brick homes are comfortable while cutting annual energy bills by almost 25%.

The full report and summary document, entitled “Energy Efficiency – A Study of the Thermal Performance of Australian Housing,” can be downloaded at www.thinkbrick.com.au

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