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Sun January 26 2020

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Heriot-Watt team launches recycled bricks

8 Jan A company that has been spun out of Heriot-Watt University has launched a building brick made from 90% recycled construction and demolition waste.

Professor Gabriela Medero
Professor Gabriela Medero

The K-Briq, which can be made in any colour, is claimed to produce a tenth of the CO2 emissions of a traditional fired brick and uses less than a tenth of the energy in its manufacture. It was incubated at Heriot-Watt University and is now the first product from spin-out company, Kenoteq. It was featured yesterday (7th January) on BBC’s The One Show.

Professor Gabriela Medero, who conceived the idea of the K-Briq more than 10 years ago, said: “We hope K-Briq will help support the sustainability ambitions of today’s construction industry.

“I have spent many years researching building materials and have been concerned that modern construction techniques exploit raw materials without considering that they are amongst the largest contributors to carbon emissions. The amount of waste they produce is not sustainable long-term.

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“The K-Briq looks like a normal brick, weighs the same and behaves like a clay brick but offers better insulation properties. It is sustainable and not kiln-fired so it is far better for the environment and represents massive savings for the construction industry in terms of related taxes.”

Dr Sam Chapman, who works in partnership with Medero at Kenoteq, added: “Kenoteq has invested in machinery that can produce three million bricks per year. In the past year, we’ve produced thousands of bricks and put them through rigorous testing with the K-Briq now commercially available to construction clients.  The Scottish government has set very high targets for housebuilding with 50,000 new homes earmarked for construction in the next three years. We hope Kenoteq will be part of those homes.”

The team said that up to 85% of bricks used in Scotland are currently being imported from England or elsewhere in Europe raising considerable questions about the long-term sustainability of the sector. It now has an agreement with Hamilton’s Waste & Recycling to produce the K-Briq on site at the recycling site, thereby reducing transport miles and carbon emissions.

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