Fly ash is produced from coal plants and industrial waste and pollutes the air or water if discharged into streams. Around 150 million tonnes of pulverized ash was generated in the year 2008 alone! In the last few years, this environmentally damaging waste by-product has found an interesting use – fly ash bricks.
Fly ash bricks are the cement colored bricks that you must have noticed at construction sites. These are much safer for the environment than red clay bricks. Produced from waste, fly ash bricks have become an effective green building material.
1. Consumes Less energy – Manufacturing of fly ash bricks in automated machines is less energy intensive (around 80 percent less) than traditional brick kilns.
2. Lighter In Weight – Being lighter in weight means transportation is easier and requires less fuel.
3. Higher Strength – This ensures lesser breakage during transportation and also reduction in dead load during construction. It effectively means lower cost of development as turnaround time is quicker and labour is reduced.
4. Higher Insulation – Fly ash bricks have higher sound and heat insulation properties. Heat insulation means lower air conditioning costs. Less air conditioning means less energy = less coal = less pollution.
5. Low Water Absorption – Low water absorption makes walls and paints last better, and it is also easier for plumbers and electricians to work on them.
6. Fire Resistant – Fly ash bricks have a good resistance against fire and hence are safer than normal clay bricks.
7. Greener – Fly ash bricks are surely green, because they are being produced from waste and are also helping the environment by being lighter and insulative. Also, the manufacturing process produces around 80 percent less CO2.
8. Cheaper – Fly ash bricks, being manufactured from waste, are cheaper than burnt bricks.
Want Something Even Greener?
Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks made of fly ash, cement, lime, water and an aerating agent is a certified green building material having no toxic ingredients. AAC blocks have higher heat and sound insulation properties than fly ash bricks. As a result, it can help to bring down operation costs of air conditioned buildings by 30 to 40 percent over traditional methods. They also have a 20 percent faster turn-around time which means lower costs for development.
Fly ash bricks are cheap, while ACC blocks are slightly more expensive. In the long run, the savings associated make it a better investment.
Image Source: Wikipedia Commons