Buildings are currently responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.
The UK ceramics Industry recognises the need to act, playing its part in decarbonisation of building materials and aiding its transition to net zero.
Why brick is a sustainable choice and how it continues to evolve
Product development and dematerialisation
One of the stages to achieving the roadmap to net zero will include the need for manufacturers to continuously evolve product design and processes.
Michelmersh’s product range includes recycled content products such as the porcelain white smooth which is 44% made from discarded sanitaryware such as baths and sinks. Other products such as its Floren reflections range is a dual face product that can be cut in half (creating two facing products from one unit) for the pre-cast market to save vast amounts of material waste.
Products which promote Biodiversity
FabSpeed’s (a brand from the Michelmersh Group) Bricology range of products are designed to create non-invasive, sustainable, safe havens for an array of species to reduce the risk of predation and the protection of larvae or nests. Britain’s nature loss and decline in native wildlife habitats require innovative products to be produced to enhance biodiversity and support Net Gain principles across our built environment. The Bricology range is the perfect solution that can either be used retrospectively using any manufacturer’s products and prefabricated by the skilled FabSpeed team or for new developments using the versatile core product range from the Michelmersh Group to design-in that biodiverse plan from the start of your project.
Bricology Bird Starling Box
Bricology Bee Brick
Bricology Bird Sparrow Box
Bricology Bat Box
Reducing energy use and switching to renewables
Manufacturers across the country have already embraced renewable energy procurement across their operations. 91.5% of the Michelmersh Group’s electricity is from renewable sources.
Many manufacturers are also investing where possible in the installation of on-site renewable energy generation methods.
All manufacturers will be motivated to reduce their energy consumption through more efficient production processes. Michelmersh has reduced its energy use (gas and electric) by 15% per kWh per tonne since its 2016 baseline.
To make clay brick even more sustainable, several measures can be implemented. First, optimizing the manufacturing process by using advanced kiln technologies and energy-efficient equipment can further reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Several manufacturers are looking at fuel switching or electrification for significant ways to decarbonise their scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Michelmersh are pioneers in the sector and successfully produced the World’s first 100% hydrogen fired clay bricks which demonstrated a reduction of 80-84% of carbon emissions over the three trials compared to natural gas.
There is also potential through electrolysis powered by renewables for manufacturers to be resilient in their own production of hydrogen, as shown in the animation below.
Michelmersh Group KPI Performance
As of year-end 2022 (Inclusive of Floren) – Calculated from 2016 Baseline.
Read more about Michelmersh’s KPI performance:
Clay bricks epitomize sustainable construction practices by offering a multitude of advantages. With their abundant and naturally sourced clay, energy-efficient manufacturing processes, durability, thermal performance, and recyclability, clay bricks support sustainable building initiatives whilst being produced locally in the UK. Choosing clay bricks for construction projects is a proactive step and whilst manufacturers are looking at new and innovative ways to reduce embodied carbon emissions, specifiers will be confident in its low to zero operational carbon, whilst its in-use benefits and thermal characteristics will enable homeowners to continue conserving energy whilst maintaining its value in their homes for generations to come.
Finally, promoting the recycling and reuse of clay bricks at the end of their life cycle can close the materials loop and minimise waste. By implementing these strategies, clay bricks can continue to further reduce their environmental impact, evolve to embrace more circular principles and continue to be used for future millennia whilst contributing to a sustainable built environment.
DESIGN FOR 200 YEARS, NOT 20.
Responsibly sourced materials
Purchasing sustainably made construction materials, such as clay brick, offers numerous advantages – most importantly, it demonstrates a commitment to designing a built environment that will last for generations, reduce operational building energy consumption and has been responsibly produced. Clay bricks are known for their durability and longevity, whilst also contributing to a healthier indoor environment, aligned with regulatory compliance and certifications whilst ensuring responsible industry practices. Additionally, there is a wide variety of aesthetical choices covering colour and texture produced locally across the UK.
To ensure you choose products made by a responsible brick manufacturer, visit the Brick Development Association’s Brickmakers Quality Charter to see who is certified. Michelmersh was the first manufacturer to receive the highest 3-star rating certification.
Visit the British Ceramic Confederation Delivering Net Zero for British Ceramics to discover more information regarding innovation in the sector.
Creating a positive environmental, social, and economic legacy for future generations is core to creating quality products that will enhance the built environment, making beautiful, durable, and safe architecture for many generations to benefit from.
Latest sustainability news
Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC is excited to release SustainableBrick.com, a bold new initiative that aims to showcase the many benefits of clay brick to specifiers, construction professionals, homeowners and housebuilders.
The Michelmersh Groups’ dedication to decarbonisation is well known throughout the construction industry.
Michelmersh is pleased to announce that its team of HGV operators have completed a driver efficiency improvement programme and continues to show high standards with progressive results from the fleet’s drivers being scored daily.
Michelmersh has announced its successful bid to the BEIS, Industrial Fuel Switching competition to conduct a feasibility study to replace natural gas with hydrogen in the brick making process.
The Michelmersh Group is proud to release its 2021 Sustainability Report. The Report offers an insightful and detailed account of Michelmersh’s established sustainable practices and its plans for achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Michelmersh is proud to announce its sponsorship of the Sustainability Award at the RIBA Regional Awards 2021.
The Brickmakers Quality Charter (BQC) is a new quality mark credentialing scheme by the Brick Development Association to promote responsible sourcing of clay bricks and to provide the supply chain with assurances of high-quality product, manufacturing and ethical standards.
Since the beginning of 2021, Michelmersh made a firm commitment in reducing the use of stretch-hoods and shrink-wrapping plastic from its product offering, where non-essential for product protection, safe storage and transport.