United Nations Development  Programme Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
TERI Ministry of Environment and Forests
Energy Efficiency Improvements in the Indian Brick Industry
 
 
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About the Project

Project Rationale

Use of obsolete technologies and use of solid bricks with traditional practices are seen as major threats to the Indian brick industry. Under the business-as-usual scenario, Indian brick industry will continue to operate with traditional technologies and practices, which are poor in energy efficiency and environmental performance as well as resources-intensive. The following have been identified as major problems faced by the Indian brick industry:
  • Limited information on resource efficient technologies
  • Lack of resource efficient model brick kiln units at cluster levels
  • Non-availability of trained manpower
  • Limited access to finance
  • Unexplored market for alternate building products
  • Old specifications and codes for building material
  • Non-availability of institutional mechanism.
The project preparatory phase clearly indicated several opportunities in the Indian brick industry to improve resource efficiencies and promote production of resource efficient bricks such as perforated bricks, hollow blocks and fly ash bricks. This would require significant changes and upgradation in the existing brick making processes, for which ready-made solutions are not available.

Project Strategy

The project has planned to undertake interventions in all regions of the country, i.e. North, East, West, South, and North East. The project interventions would help in introducing ‘Resource Efficient Brick’ (REB) products such as hollow blocks, perforated bricks and fly ash bricks in different regions of the country. This will lead to switch over from the traditional hand moulding method to the use of machinery (mechanization or semi-mechanization) by the brick kiln units.

What are REBs?

REBs are products that consume less energy and resources for their production than traditional fired clay bricks, and also have better quality and insulation properties. There are different types of REBs, such as perforated bricks, hollow blocks and fly ash bricks.

Project Implementation

In order to reach out to various regions and brick clusters, the project has set up Local Resource Centres (LRCs) in different regions of the country, i.e. North, South, East, West and North-East. The activities of the LRCs encompass the following:

  • Create awareness among architects, builders, other end-users and government departments in order to facilitate the uptake of REBs.
  • Prepare and disseminate promotional material on REBs.
  • Establish facts such as strengths and properties of various REB products.
  • Facilitate adoption of REB technologies (both mechanization and semi-mechanization) by interested entrepreneurs
  • Prepare DPRs (detailed project reports) for availing loans from financial institutions and banks.

Why REBs are Important?

Traditional brick manufacture uses up huge quantities of top soil and fuels. It is becoming increasingly difficult for brick entrepreneurs to tackle the challenges posed by the growing scarcity or non-availability of top soil in their vicinity, escalating fuel prices, and difficulty in finding workers. At the same time, the construction sector is witnessing an increasing use of products such as REBs that offer better qualities than traditional bricks in certain parameters. Present day constructions usually have RCC (reinforced concrete cement) columns, with bricks mainly used as partition walls. Unlike earlier, bricks are no longer being used as load bearing walls in the majority of buildings.

Traditional brick manufacture uses up huge quantities of top soil and fuels. It is becoming increasingly difficult for brick entrepreneurs to tackle the challenges posed by the growing scarcity or non-availability of top soil in their vicinity, escalating fuel prices, and difficulty in finding workers. At the same time, the construction sector is witnessing an increasing use of products such as REBs that offer better qualities than traditional bricks in certain parameters. Present day constructions usually have RCC (reinforced concrete cement) columns, with bricks mainly used as partition walls. Unlike earlier, bricks are no longer being used as load bearing walls in the majority of buildings.

Advantages of REBs

REBs offer a number of advantages in production as well as end-use applications. These include the following.
  • Uniform product size and better finish
  • Low water absorption (<10%)
  • Improved crushing strength of extruded products (300 to 350 kg/cm2)
  • Resource savings – energy (up to 20%), and top soil (up to 30%)
  • Reduction in masonry costs and plaster requirements
  • Reduced cooling/heating load requirements.

Project Outcomes

The following outcomes are envisaged through the various activities proposed under the project:
  • Enhancing public sector awareness on resource-efficient products
  • Access to finance for brick kiln entrepreneurs
  • Improved knowledge on technology, including marketing
  • Availability of resource efficient technology models in five clusters through Local Resource Centres
  • Improved capacity of brick kiln entrepreneurs

Project Outputs

  • Higher energy efficiency in brick production
  • Improved resource efficiency and reduced land degradation
  • Reduced local and cluster level pollution
  • High level of awareness among various stakeholders
  • Additional benefits:
    • Improvements in building efficiency with reduction in heating and cooling loads, due to the air gaps in resource efficient bricks
    • Reduced drudgery and improved health of moulders and other workers.

Project Goal and Objectives
The goal of the project is to reduce energy consumption by creating appropriate infrastructure for sustained adoption of new and improved technologies for production and use of resource efficient bricks in India.

The objectives of the project are:
  • To demonstrate REB technologies and develop technology models (supply side)
  • To build awareness and develop sustainable markets for REBs among various stakeholders such as builders, architects, individual end-users (demand side)
  • To influence government organizations, financial institutions and policy and decision makers
Background
Common fired clay brick is one of the important building materials in India. Bricks are used as walling material in most residential and commercial buildings. They are also used for other applications, e.g. road and canal construction. India is the second largest producer of bricks in the world and is next to China in terms of brick production. The estimated brick production during the year 200001 was 140 billion . The brick production is estimated to be growing at a rate of 4% per year. Bricks are produced at village and rural enterprise levels. The sizes of brick units are much smaller in the rural areas. However, in peri-urban areas, the size of brick producing units is much larger, and clustering of ...