Natural building materials made of clay are energy-saving

Man with safety helmet touching bare brick wall from wienerberger company
Photo: Uwe Strasser

A natural and local raw material

Bricks, clay blocks, roof tiles and pavers are made of the natural resources clay and water in nearby production plants and used locally. That avoids long transport routes.
An energy-efficient production process saves resources. With the continuous optimisation of production processes, the use of biogenic additives and renewable energy sources Wienerberger deliberately configures a more efficient production process. The specific energy consumption as well as specific CO2 emissions are reduced, and the share of renewable electric energy is further increased.  

Building with bricks, clay blocks and roof tiles

There are a continually growing number of people who also want to make a contribution to climate protection when building their own home. They specifically look for sustainable, ecological and energy-efficient construction system and building concepts.  

As a result, the complexity of planning and constructing has increased in recent years. In order to make a building meet all contemporary demands, much more expertise is required than before.

Building a private home

When building a private home, numerous decisions already have to be made in the planning phase.
  • What materials would I like to build with (keyword: thermal building envelope)?
    Owing to increasingly tight building envelopes, the significance of choosing the right building material is growing. As a result of experience gathered over centuries and continuous innovation, bricks and clay blocks fulfil all requirements on optimised high-quality construction.
Exterior wall comparison
Source: Schlagmann Poroton GmbH & Co.KG;

The Austrian Porotherm 38 W.i Plan, for example, is a plane ground block for 38cm exterior walls specifically geared to the requirements of the single-family house built to the higher low-energy construction method. The monolithic wall with integrated thermal insulation made of rock wool is characterised by optimal building physical and building biological properties as well as excellent thermal insulation characteristics (U-value as from 0.16 W/m²K, plastered). Even better thermal insulation values can be achieved with a wall thickness of 44 or 50 cm (U-value up to 0.12 W/m²K). Additionally, brick walls with a composite thermal insulation system used as a façade also achieve remarkable insulation results.
Primary energy demand
 *) Source:

  • How can I gain control of an efficient use of energy without being an energy expert?
    Energy-efficient construction methods and building materials massively contribute to the reduction of the primary energy consumption of buildings. By trusting in the products and solutions Wienerberger has been developing for many years, one firstly complies with the requirements on energy-efficient building and secondly, one fulfils individual needs.
    In addition to humidity regulation, bricks and clay blocks principally provide for high energy-efficiency and a pleasant living comfort, which is further increased through excellent thermal insulation properties and thermal storage capacity. A house built of bricks and clay blocks combined with the right building services and heating technology can even generate more energy than the occupants consume.
Maintenance costs
*) Source: Cost comparison study: brick-built house/timber frame house, Institute for Building Research, Hannover 2008

  • Does my investment in a house also have a guaranteed value in the long-term?
    Houses and apartments built of brick, clay blocks and roof tiles are an investment for generations. You combine a healthy residential ambience with a high-quality building structure.
    Even when subjected to considerable loads, roof tiles, facing bricks, clay blocks, and pavers by Wienerberger retain their shape and colour. The durability of these clay products and the unique quality of living in brick buildings and apartments guarantees a high re-sale value after many years.

  • How can I contribute to climate protection and simultaneously implement the suitable home providing the perfect quality of living for me and my family?
    With an e4 brick house, one makes a considerable contribution to climate protection owing to lower values for primary energy demand and CO2 emissions, whilst simultaneously being able to take advantage of an architectural design scope to make one’s dream come true. The e4 brick house stands for
    - energy
    - economy
    - environment
    - emotion & health

For more information go to: e4 brick house concept

  • What construction and maintenance costs do I have to expect over the entire lifecycle of the building?
    Today, clay building materials allow quick, flexible and exact construction in a short period of time with little material input. This saves both time and money. Not only is the construction affordable, one also does not need to be concerned about high maintenance and operation costs. The positive insulation properties of bricks and clay blocks help to minimise energy and heating costs. Therefore, a house built of brick is always a sensible investment.

Other energy-efficient building concepts

Innovations in building engineering as well as in the refurbishment of existing apartments improve energy-efficiency and make an important contribution to climate protection.
Wienerberger is able to support all energy-efficient building concepts with high-quality building material solutions using clay blocks, bricks and roof tiles. That way, passive and active house, low-energy or solar houses can be implemented. Below you find definitions used by several companies.
  • Passive houses are called “passive” because they generate the predominant part of the heat demand from “passive” sources such as insolation, people and technical appliances.
  • Active houses are called “active” because they create a healthy and pleasant living climate for the residents without having negative impact on the climate and environment. The active house combines the principles of comfort, energy and environment. They make a positive contribution to good health and the well-being of the occupants by concentrating on the internal and external environment and the use of renewable energies. An active house is assessed on the basis of the interactions between energy consumption, indoor climate and environmental impacts.
  • Low-energy houses are generally based on optimal thermal insulation of the roof and exterior walls. Sufficient insulation of the exterior walls as well as the insulation and sealing of windows and external doors of a building ensure that only a fraction of the consumed heating energy leaves the interior.
  • Solar houses are predominantly solar-heated low-energy houses. While solar collectors are as yet primarily used for heating water and support indoor heating, the solar house now makes it possible to use the sun as primary energy source for the heating system.
In the future, the energy demand of buildings will for the predominant part be supplied by renewable energies.

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