The Brick Industry Association has taken several major steps in promoting clay brick for green building design and sustainability.
Green building, energy efficiency, sustainability: These
concepts have made their way into the thinking of architects, builders and consumers-and for good reason. Those who choose to
construct a building according to sustainable principles are reducing the
long-term impact the structure has on the environment. Ultimately, sustainable
and green building design is about creating high-performance buildings that
meet the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs.
Today, clay brick has proven its
contributing role in green building and sustainable design. Having been used as
a building material for thousands of years, brick is made primarily from clay
and shale, two of the most abundant natural resources. Brick also contributes
to sustainable design through its long life span, energy efficiency, durability,
recycled content, local availability, acoustic insulation, low construction
waste and potential for reuse. Finally, modern brick manufacturing incorporates
many sustainable practices of its own and has captured great production
efficiencies that reduce its environmental impact.
Sustainability/green building design has also
become more entrenched in the construction sector. More than 100 cities have
requirements for green buildings, and the U.S. Green Building Council estimates
that more than 30,000 people will attend its 2008 Greenbuild International
Conference and Expo November 19-21 in Boston, Mass. To address these trends,
the Brick Industry Association (BIA) has taken several major steps in promoting
clay brick for green building design and sustainability.
While many programs are
in progress, the BIA has already completed several major initiatives, including
the launch of a new website, www.greenbrick.com
the creation of new “Technical Notes” and “Builder Notes” mailers focused on green building design and
sustainability; the distribution of a “Brick In Architecture” newsletter
specifically devoted to green building design and sustainability; and the
insertion of “Clay Brick – The Most Sustainable, Green Building Material Made”
taglines in its trade advertising. In addition, the BIA is ensuring that the
brick industry has a presence at key trade shows, including the recent National
Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Green Building Conference and the upcoming
In July 2008, the BIA unveiled an online training program that provides
education to its manufacturer and distributor members. The Sustainability/Green
Building Design course will be made available to BIA members around the clock,
so members can participate at their own desktop and their own pace, or
collectively with colleagues in a conference room. The course is modeled on the
BIA’s Brick University program, and it addresses four objectives: Understand
the Need for Sustainable Design, Define Sustainable/Green Building Design,
Understand the Principles of High-Performance Design, and Develop a General
Familiarity with Tools Needed for Assessing Sustainable/ Green Building Design.
The first course on “Sustainable and Green Building Design” consisted of five
separate classes and covered the following topics:
- Class 1: What is Sustainable or Green Building Design?
- Class 2: Non-Residential Green Building Rating Systems
- Class 3: Residential Green Building Rating Systems
- Class 4: Brick Manufacturing-Sustainable or Green Aspects
- Class 5: Competitive Materials vs. Brick-Green Claims and
Those who successfully completed the program and passed the accompanying exams
were accredited as Green Brick Specialists (GBSs).
Because the sustainability movement is continually evolving, the BIA will
invest time and resources to ensure that the industry is prepared to capitalize
on the various ongoing developments. For example, the association is conducting
manufacturer and distributor benchmark surveys so that the industry will have a
better idea of the extent that the brick industry is practicing sustainability
and green building design. Look for additional details in the November 2008
Brick & Clay Record
For more information regarding
brick’s role in green and sustainable building, contact the BIA at 1850
Centennial Park Dr., Suite 301, Reston, VA 20191; (703) 620-0010; fax (703)
620-3928; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.gobrick.com.