Within the VLAIO Living Lab Circular Economy VAN AARDE NAAR WAARDE - Toepassing van Leemsteen in de praktijk, UHasselt, a2o-architecten, Democo, Buildwise, BrickZ and BC materials are investigating the application of clay brick in construction projects for three years.
Clay brick is a fully circular building material with great potential for reducing the building sector's materials footprint and CO2 emissions. The material is not fired, so the production process releases much less CO2 than conventional brick. Moreover, if no stabilisers are added, clay brick can be reused as a raw material at the end of its life cycle or returned to nature in an unmodified form. When excavated soil from construction sites is used as raw material for production, no mining of new raw materials is needed either.
Through experimental research, real-life case studies and a demo project with social-ecological impact, this Living Lab investigates the technical bottlenecks in the design and implementation of clay brick masonry. They also interrogate experiences and preferences of architects, contractors and building owners and take these into account when formulating design solutions.
Within this living lab, multidisciplinary knowledge building, sensitisation, demonstrations and co-creation with designers, engineers, building owners and other construction actors are being used with the aim of scaling up the use of clay brick in construction.