27th May 2024 -

The construction industry is always seeking ways to reduce its environmental impact. A promising approach is the use of engineering bricks, a versatile material that offers a range of benefits. For this feature, we delve into the properties that make these bricks a sustainable choice.

What are engineering bricks used for?

Key applications include structural elements like retaining wall structures and foundations, leveraging their excellent compression strength. Engineering bricks are widely used for exterior cladding and façades, paving and landscaping features. 

Also, they are suitable for historical restoration and renovation projects, preserving architectural heritage. Our detailed article on engineering bricks offers more information on structural properties.

5 sustainable benefits of engineered bricks

Engineered bricks offer a comprehensive range of sustainable benefits. Introducing these bricks into projects significantly reduces the environmental impact of projects. Below, we explore these key benefits. 

1. Energy and emissions reduction

The production of engineering bricks is a relatively low-energy process compared to traditional clay brick manufacturing. By employing cold-curing techniques and optimising the manufacturing process, production greatly reduces energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. 

2. Water conservation

Conventional brick manufacturing is known to be water-intensive. However, engineering bricks require substantially less water during production. Advanced water recycling and treatment systems further reduce the consumption of freshwater. Water-saving is particularly valuable in drought-prone areas, promoting sustainable water management practices.

3. Thermal performance

Engineering bricks have excellent thermal mass properties. Buildings constructed with these bricks maintain stable indoor temperatures more efficiently. This reduces the energy demands for heating and cooling systems. The energy-saving potential lowers costs and lessens the environmental impact associated with energy consumption throughout a building's lifespan.

4. Durability

The durability and resistance to weathering extend the lifespan of structures. Their resilience against cracking, chipping and deterioration minimises the need for frequent repairs or replacements. Overall, this reduces the embodied energy and material consumption associated with building maintenance and construction over time.

5. Recyclability

At the end of their lifespan (50-100 years), engineering bricks are crushed and repurposed as aggregate for new construction projects. This promotes closed-loop material cycles and minimises waste generation. Also, many engineering brick varieties are designed for reuse. It allows the recovery and installation of these materials into future building projects. 

Sustainable benefits of different engineering bricks

While all engineering bricks share the above core sustainable pros, certain brick types offer further benefits tailored to specific applications.


These basic engineering bricks provide a solid foundation for sustainable building construction. Their durability and resistance to weathering extend the lifespan of structures, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Standard engineering bricks also offer excellent thermal mass properties, contributing to energy efficiency. 


The perforated design enhances thermal and acoustic insulation capabilities. This improves energy efficiency and reduces noise pollution. Perforated engineering bricks can help lower heating and cooling costs, minimising the environmental impact associated with energy consumption. 


Bullnose engineering bricks feature a rounded edge, making them ideal for creating smooth, curved surfaces. This versatility allows for more efficient use of materials and minimises waste generated during construction. Also, the rounded edges boost safety and durability, reducing the risk of chipping or cracking. 


The imperial engineering brick size is typically twice the length of standard bricks. They offer several sustainable benefits, including reduced mortar usage due to fewer joints and faster construction times. 


The distinct colour of buff engineering bricks is achieved through the use of natural pigments derived from iron oxides, eliminating the need for synthetic dyes or coatings. This contributes to an eco-friendly manufacturing process and ensures that the bricks are recycled or reused. 


The textured surface offers improved grip and traction which reduces the risk of slips and falls. This improved safety feature means a longer lifespan for the bricks because they are less likely to be replaced. Also, the textured surface creates a unique appearance, allowing for creative designs without added finishes or coatings.


Glazed engineering bricks feature a vitrified surface that is resistant to staining, fading and weathering. The low-maintenance finish extends the lifespan of the bricks, reducing the need for frequent cleaning or replacement. Plus, the glazed surface can be achieved through eco-friendly processes, such as using recycled glass or natural pigments. 


Designed for architectural details and intricate brickwork, angle engineering bricks allow efficient material usage and lower waste generation. Their unique shape helps you to make creative designs and patterns to achieve visually appealing structures without compromising sustainability.

How to maximise engineer brick sustainability

It is essential to adopt sustainable practices throughout the manufacturing and construction processes of engineering brick. By introducing particular techniques, you can further boost the environmental benefits. 

Manufacturing process optimisation

  • Waste heat recovery systems: Capturing waste heat generated during brick production reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacturing process.
  • Alternative fuel sources: Transitioning to renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, or biomass, minimises the reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Water recycling and treatment: Introducing closed-loop water systems and advanced wastewater treatment methods reduces freshwater consumption and prevents water pollution.

Sustainable installation techniques

  • Optimised material usage: Careful planning and design lowers material waste and ensures efficient use of engineering bricks.
  • Dry construction methods: Utilising techniques such as interlocking or dry-stacked systems reduces the need for mortar and eliminates water consumption. 
  • Recyclable joint materials: Choosing eco-friendly joint materials, including lime-based mortars or natural adhesives, boosts the recyclability of the building components.

Construction site management

  • Waste minimisation: Implementing effective waste management strategies on construction sites, such as material reuse, recycling, and composting, can significantly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.
  • Water conservation: Employing techniques like rainwater harvesting, efficient irrigation systems and low-flow fixtures can minimise water consumption during construction.
  • Energy efficiency: Utilising energy-efficient equipment, optimising construction schedules and implementing renewable energy sources on-site can reduce the overall energy footprint of the construction process.

Design for deconstruction and reuse

  • Modular and prefabricated components: Designing structures with modular and prefabricated components allows for the reuse of materials at the end of a building's lifespan.
  • Reversible connections: Utilising reversible connections, such as bolted or dry-stacked systems, enables easier separation of building components, promoting material recovery. 
  • Building information modelling (BIM): Introducing BIM technology helps track materials throughout a building's lifecycle. This helps with efficient deconstruction and material recovery processes.

Are engineering bricks fire resistant?

Engineering bricks boast superior fire resistance compared to traditional clay bricks. The high density and low porosity of these bricks limit heat penetration. This prevents cracking or structural failure at extreme temperatures.

Fire resistance contributes to the sustainability of engineering bricks. It extends their lifespan by minimising damage and reducing material consumption and waste from frequent replacements. In addition, it maintains thermal insulation properties post-fire exposure, ensuring continued energy efficiency. They require less maintenance because of their resilience against heat.

Engineering brick vs clay brick: Which is more sustainable?

Traditional clay bricks have been a construction staple for centuries. However, engineering bricks are a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative. A comparison between clay and engineering bricks reveals the environmental pros they offer.

CriteriaEngineering bricksClay bricks
Resource efficiencyMade from industrial by-products and waste materials, reducing demand for newer resources.Require mining and extraction of finite natural clay and shale materials.
Waste reductionDivert waste from landfills by repurposing industrial by-products.Generate waste during mining and manufacturing processes.
Energy and emissionsThe cold-curing process requires less energy. Potential for renewable energy use.Energy-intensive firing process in kilns. Reliance on fossil fuels leads to higher emissions.
Water conservationLower water demand during production. Water recycling systems reduce freshwater consumption.Water-intensive mixing, moulding, and curing processes strain local water resources.
Durability and longevityOften have superior compressive strength and resistance to cracking, increasing lifespan.Shorter lifespan. Clay bricks require more frequent repairs and replacements.
Thermal and acoustic performanceExcellent thermal mass and insulation properties for energy savings.Poorer thermal and acoustic insulation compared to engineering bricks.
Recyclability and reuseCan be crushed and reused as aggregate. Potential for deconstruction and reuse in new builds.Challenging to recycle or reuse effectively. Therefore, clay bricks often end up in landfills.
Embodied energy and carbon footprintLower embodied energy and emissions over the whole lifespan.Higher embodied energy and carbon footprint because of the energy-intensive production and shorter lifespan.

What is the future of sustainable engineering bricks?

The future of engineering bricks holds promising advancements in materials, manufacturing processes and construction practices. These innovations will further boost the eco-friendliness of engineering bricks and contribute to a more sustainable future. 

Material innovations

  • Recycled and renewable materials: Introducing a wider range of waste materials, such as recycled plastics, agricultural residues and bio-based materials. This approach reduces the reliance on newer resources but promotes the circular economy.
  • Self-healing properties: The development of self-healing and self-cleaning engineering bricks greatly extends their lifespan and reduces maintenance requirements. 

Manufacturing advancements

  • Renewable energy sources: As renewable energy sources like solar, wind and biomass become more accessible, manufacturers will transition towards these cleaner alternatives. They greatly reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and minimise greenhouse gas emissions.

Construction practices

  • Building information modelling (BIM): The adoption of BIM will enable more efficient material usage, minimise waste and monitor engineering bricks throughout their lifespan. This approach will help with decision-making processes and support sustainable end-of-life management. 
  • Modular and prefabricated construction: Using modular and prefabricated components will gain traction. It will enable efficient construction processes, reduce on-site waste generation and promote material reuse. 
  • Deconstruction and material recovery: The construction industry will place greater emphasis on designing for deconstruction and material recovery. Engineering bricks will play a key role in facilitating closed-loop material cycles.

Solid engineering bricks with quick UK delivery

We supply a diverse selection of engineering bricks, including red and blue Class A and Class B varieties. Class A engineering bricks are known for high strength and low waterproof capabilities, ideal for durable applications and weather resistance. 

A class B engineering brick also provides excellent strength and is suitable for a range of structural and aesthetic applications. Both class types are available in red and blue tones, allowing for versatility in design and functionality.

Trade customers are welcome to open trade accounts with us. By opening a trade account, you gain access to competitive prices and dedicated account management to assist with your orders. 

Whether you buy red engineering bricks or blue engineering bricks, we make sure you receive high-quality materials every time. Contact us to learn more or spend 2 minutes signing up online. 

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