Dezeen Magazine

Elevation detail of house with Marshalls concrete bricks

Marshalls produces concrete bricks with less embodied carbon than clay bricks

Dezeen promotion: concrete bricks manufactured by Marshalls have been found to contain almost 50 per cent less embodied carbon than traditional clay bricks, according to the British manufacturing company.

Marshalls brick and Masonry offers a range of concrete facing bricks, which have been developed to be as sustainable as possible.

Research carried out by the brand found that switching from fired clay bricks to concrete alternatives effectively halves the embodied carbon in the external walls of a newly constructed house.

The calculations suggest that, on average, using concrete bricks could offer CO2 savings of 2.4 tonnes over the lifetime of every new house.

"To put this into context, if housebuilders were to adopt this approach across every house built in the UK for one year, then the lifetime CO2 savings would be equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road, or reducing transatlantic flights by almost half a million," said the brand.

Facade of house with Marshalls concrete bricks
Marshalls offers concrete bricks that are less carbon-intensive than fired clay bricks

In a recent talk with Dezeen, Marshalls sustainability director Chris Harrop explained that the products were made more environmentally friendly through innovations in the manufacturing process.

The brand has been able to reduce the amount of cement in its concrete by at least 40 per cent over the past decade, by replacing it with more sustainable substitutes. This reduces the material's carbon footprint without impacting its strength or durability.

"Once you start to get into the data, you really start to understand the cradle-to-grave impact of products," Harrop stated in the talk.

"We don't need to fire a product in hundreds or thousands of degrees to cure it," he said, comparing the process to the way that clay bricks are produced. "A concrete product will cure naturally on its own without any additional help and will just get stronger over time."

Interior of house with Marshalls concrete bricks
The concrete bricks could halve the embodied carbon in a newly constructed house

Marshalls believes its concrete products can significantly contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the construction industry, while also helping the UK government achieve its target of building 300,000 new homes every year until 2025.

The concrete bricks are available in a range of colours and finishes, to suit a variety of different purposes and aesthetics.

They come with carbon labelling footprint information calculated by the Carbon Trust using methodology outlined in PAS2050 and approved by the Carbon Trust, to give customers full transparency.

All products are manufactured in locations all over the UK, which brings an additional layer of efficiency to the process.

They are also 100 per cent recyclable, so they can be repurposed at the end of their life.

For more information about Marshalls' sustainability performance, visit the brand's website.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for Marshalls as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.