A new brick design and environmental awards showcase Acme Brick's commitment to sustainable manufacturing.
Acme's Wetlands project is located at the company's plant in Perla, Ark.
Brick Co.’s engineers have developed a new brick design that increases the area
of a brick’s core holes from 25 to 33% of the brick’s total volume. It is
expected that this new “lean” version of both the company’s King Size and
modular brick will generate savings of about 11% in the energy used to fire the
brick. Additional savings will be generated in transportation costs, because
the new brick weigh approximately 3.15 lbs. vs. 3.5 lbs for a conventional King
left: Jason Pence, environmental manager, and Rick Hice, regional engineer,
receive the Brick Industry Association’s Environmental Stewardship Award from
Ed Watson, senior vice president of Production for Acme Brick.
is a natural resource that is in no danger of being depleted and offers no
disposal problems in an era chronically short of landfills. Even at the end of
its 100+ year lifecycle, brick is normally reused in a new structure. The
importance of brick’s long lifecycle is revealed when one considers that
commercial, institutional, and residential buildings and their operations
account for 136 million tons of construction/demolition waste and 40% (or 3
billion tons annually) of global raw material use.
an environmentally safe product that is 99% pure clay and is produced by
burning clean, natural gas. It produces no gases or toxins like those created
in abundance by the many types of foam insulation, including those found in
artificial stucco. In addition, brick is second only to wood in having the
lowest embodied energy at 2560 kilowatt-hours/ton of material, compared to
glass at 8960, steel at 15,360 and aluminum at
Energy-efficient brick creates structures that
provide excellent thermal insulation and a healthy indoor climate. Since it
resists water vapor diffusion, brick also acts to automatically balance
moisture within a structure.
Because it does not rust, dent,
bend or peel like other siding materials, brick requires minimum or no
maintenance throughout its long lifecycle. All other sidings use natural
resources and generate considerable pollution during their manufacturing,
harvesting or application processes. In addition, wood structures must be
painted repeatedly throughout their lifecycles.
new “lean” version of both King Size and modular brick will generate savings of
about 11% in the energy used to fire the brick.
Brick was recently honored with a third consecutive Environmental Stewardship
Award from the Brick Industry Association (BIA). This year, Acme won for its
Constructed Wetlands program, which was developed to treat storm water that
accumulates in clay mining areas.
By design, the system does
not require any chemicals to treat the acidic runoff water. In addition, no
electrical or generator-powered equipment is required to operate the system;
therefore, no emissions from electrical utilities or power generators are
Water treatment is achieved through the use of specialized aquatic plants that
neutralize the acidic runoff water. In addition to achieving the primary water
treatment goal, the wetlands project has provided a welcome refuge for many
forms of animal life.
According to Richard Jennison, the
BIA’s president and CEO, “Our companies are demonstrating that, just like
all-natural brick itself, they’re operating in a sustainable manner:
safeguarding the health and well-being of our environment, their employees and
society at large.”
The Extra Mile
Acme Brick’s case, even the mining of clay reserves produces an important
ecological benefit. When the clay reserves of a mining pit are depleted, Acme
converts the pit into a small (typically about 5 acres), deep lake. The lake is
then stocked with fish for recreational use by
Many products are now making claims to be
environmentally sound for use in construction. However, with all of these
products, some environmental concessions must be made. Brick is the only major
building material that achieves this high level of “green” building, and Acme’s
new “lean” brick is another step forward in environmental stewardship.
For more information, contact Acme Brick Co. at P.O. Box 425, Fort
Worth, TX 76101; (817) 792-1234; or visit the company’s website at www.brick.com.