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Issue #27
General photo building materials Wienerberger
© Wienerberger Belgium

SUSTAINABILITY OVER THE ENTIRE LIFE CYCLE

Sustainability

If you want to plan and build ecologically, you have to think in terms of life cycles and look at products and processes in their entirety. Any possible impacts on humans, the environment and the consumption of resources should be qualitatively and, if possible, quantitatively analysed.

Bricks are natural building materials that do not release any pollutants into their environment, whether in the construction of buildings, in their active use phase or in the post-use phase (for example, during demolition). Wienerberger takes into account the entire life cycle (illustrated here by wall construction materials) for a plausible ecological assessment:

Raw material extraction
Extraction of raw materials always requires interference with the natural environment; this is minimised as much as possible during operation. Abandoned sites are recultivated, renatured or prepared for reuse.

Manufacturing
All materials used are free of hazardous substances. Care is taken as a matter of routine that the materials have a positive ecological balance and that aggregates and fillers are biogenic and climate-neutral. Processing takes place under resource- and energy-efficient conditions.

Transport
At all Wienerberger locations, building materials are produced locally. Moreover, the sites at which raw materials are extracted are physically close to production facilities, which results in short transport routes with low energy requirements and low pollutant emissions.

Processing
The insulating wall brick technology enables a rapid construction without pollutant emissions, producing low noise levels and comparatively low ergonomic stress on the construction site. In addition, there is no problematic building material waste.

General photo building materials Wienerberger
© Wienerberger Belgium

Conservation – refurbishment
Brick buildings are particularly durable and therefore have a special intrinsic value. Renovation or restoration work is easy to perform, with less material required.

Demolition
The demolition of an object also requires relatively little energy. It is not necessary to separate materials in a single-shell brick construction. For a brick double-shell structure, a simple demolition of the building materials is sufficient.

Disposal
Bricks do not release pollutants to the subsurface and therefore can be disposed of at a low cost into (European) Class 2 Eluates. They can also be used as mineral construction waste for mine filling.

Recycling
A large proportion of the overall demolition material can be recirculated with little energy input and reused as recycled building material.