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Scotland scientists invent groundbreaking low-emissions, recycled building brick

Scientists at Heriot Watt University in Scotland have developed the world’s first building brick that’s made from 90% recycled construction and demolition waste.

The K-Briq uses less than one-tenth of the energy in its manufacture, creates one-tenth of CO2 emissions of a traditional fired brick, and can be made in any color.

The K-Briq is stronger and lighter than traditional kiln-fired bricks. It is produced from concrete, brick, and plasterboard waste, and it’s compressed without firing.

The brick will be commercially produced by Kenoteq, a commercial arm of Heriot Watt.

Professor Gabriela Medero, inventor of the K-Briq, said:

I have spent many years researching building materials and have been concerned that modern construction techniques exploit raw materials without considering that they are among the largest contributors to carbon emissions. The amount of waste they produce is not sustainable long-term.

The K-Briq looks like a normal brick, weighs the same, and behaves like a clay brick, but offers better insulation properties. It is sustainable and not kiln-fired so it is far better for the environment and represents massive savings for the construction industry in terms of related taxes.

Electrek’s Take

Building and construction are responsible for 39% of all global carbon emissions, according to the World Green Building Council.

So if this brick proves durable, it could potentially revolutionize the construction industry, not only in Scotland but globally. Affordable housing shortages are a chronic problem around the world, and so is the pollution caused by building. So the construction industry is coming up with innovations like tiny housing, net zero housing, and modular housing.

These bricks could be yet another great and impactful solution. Let’s hope they catch on. Well done, Heriot Watt scientists.

Photo: City of Glasgow College

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.