Making biodegradable construction bricks out o…


By Shardell Joseph

The green charcoal’s biodegradable bricks and innovative construction are being created as an environmental alternative to concrete bricks.

Contributing approximately eight to 15% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, concrete manufacturing is making the building industry a threat to the environment.

Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) Lead Researcher, Shreyas More, is conducting The Green Charcoal research to address the issue of rising pollution and temperature by developing healthy materials for building construction. The aim is to create a breathing state of architecture that ensures increased biodiversity in cities while providing healthy urban solutions for people.

The biodegradable bricks use these healthy materials, which includes charcoal, organic loofah fibres, soil and air creating a biodegradable, lightweight system. It also allows the growth of living plants and insects on its surface.

The bricks structural nature is due to the loofah’s fibrous network – this element ensures high porosity, flexibility and strength in the brick. The loofah pores also accommodates plants and act as thousands of tiny water tanks. This reduces the temperature of the brick, which cools the environment while being strucral enough for construction.

Using a practice-based research approach, More has been experimenting with different percentages of charcoal and concrete to test adsorption, porosity and strength of the mix. One process prototype was 4.81 times lighter and up to 20 times more porous than conventional pervious concrete.

The porous materiality of the green charcoal bricks enables passive cooling, which can control a building’s interior temperatures while purifying the incoming air. This sustainable cooling method also reduces the need for air conditioning and other more polluting methods in buildings.

The green charcoal research continues to explore biophilic material compositions, climatic performance, and natural colour palettes and patterns to make future cities a healthier place to live in.

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