This Startup Makes Bricks From Recycled Construction Materials

Construction activity and the production of construction materials are not exactly environmentally friendly. Kenoteq is working to change that.

Courtesy of Heriot-Watt University
Pictured: Professor Gabriela Medero

A year ago, Kenoteq was just another startup with a sleek name and an idea for creating more sustainable construction materials. Now the Scottish company is gaining notoriety for its latest creation: the K-Briq.

What is the K-Briq?

The K-Briq is a building brick made with 90 percent recycled construction materials and demolition waste. Manufacturing a K-Briq creates less than one-tenth of the carbon emissions than a standard brick. That’s largely because K-Briqs are “unfired,” or produced without being heated.

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“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,” said the K-Briq’s inventor, professor Gabriella Medero, appearing on BBC’s The One Show. “The amount of waste they produce is not sustainable long-term.”

Courtesy of Heriot-Watt University
Pictured: Dr. Sam Chapman

What Makes the K-Briq Eco-Friendly?

According to the Global Alliance for Building and Construction, buildings and construction account for 36 percent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. The production of eco-friendly construction materials like the K-Briq could offset some of that by providing viable alternative materials for real world construction projects.

“We hope K-Briq will help support the sustainability ambitions of today’s construction industry,” said Sam Chapman, Ph.D., managing director of Kenoteq, on The One Show. “Kenoteq has invested in the first set of machinery to scale up production. In the past year, we’ve produced thousands of bricks and put them through rigorous testing.”

Is the K-Briq Available for Use?

The K-Briq already has been selected in the construction of the 2020 Serpentine Pavilion, a yearly installation built in London. This year’s pavilion will feature the K-Briq alongside cork (another alternative sustainable material) sourced from a Portuguese producer. Beyond that, Kenoteq is hoping to quickly integrate itself into the homebuilding process in its home country.

“The Scottish government has set very high targets for housebuilding, with 50,000 new homes earmarked for construction in the next three years,” said Chapman. “We hope Kenoteq will be part of those homes.”