Simon Hay, CEO of the Brick Development Association looks at how important sustainability is when choosing bricks and cladding

Sustainability is a critical element in building these days and the brick industry has been at the forefront in mapping ways to improve performance and sustainability.

Already we have seen new Energy Performance Certificates, for large commercial buildings as well as housing. The BRE’s latest Green Guide to Specification has assigned the highest possible accreditation A+ to every external wall it rated that contained brickwork. It states that the choice of external wall specification is probably subject to the widest range of practical, economic and visual considerations compared to other building elements and can account for around 30% of building costs.

As the BRE’s Green Guide makes clear, sustainability is not just about the use of carbon-free materials. Nor is it just about the embodied energy accrued in its production and delivery from ‘cradle to gate’. It is about the total energy consumption of a product – including that used to maintain it, once it’s part of a building, and the fate of ‘end-of-life’ material.

Continuing to demonstrate its long-term commitment to sustainability as was one of the first UK industrial sectors to publish its sustainability policy, the BDA produced its initial Sustainability Strategy Progress Report 2012 (based on data from 2002-2011).

As a result of collating ten years of data summarised in this report, the BDA in 2013, reviewed all existing KPI’s and updated them as necessary in accordance with emerging UK Government Guidelines. Additionally, quantitative targets will be established to shape the future progress of the industry towards 2020.

The KPIs against which BDA members have reported are:

  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources
  • The maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment
  • Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone

It is valid to reflect that the 10 years span the worst economic downturn in living memory; despite which the industry as a whole has continued to invest strongly in improving its production processes, as well as its sustainability profile.

This report provides crucial information for everyone involved in the specification of brick and masonry walling systems as the BDA continues to ensure clay bricks and pavers are recognised as the materials of choice by all key decision makers in the UK construction industry.

For further information please contact:

Vivianne Williams at the Brick Development Association

The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT

T: 020 7323 7030

E: VivianneWilliams(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)brick.org.uk

W: www.brick.org.uk