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Top LEED Projects Use Fired-Clay Brick Exteriors

The world’s highest-scoring college dorm in Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the latest among top LEED projects to consistently incorporate brick exteriors.

Serving as a model of sustainability, Berea College’s “Deep Green” residence hall in Kentucky earned LEED Platinum Certification with a score of 90 points and appears on Princeton Review’s 2015 Guide to 253 Green Colleges. Berea joins other top LEED projects using fired-clay brick exteriors – including Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, Wisconsin (LEED Platinum); the Newberg Center at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon (LEED Platinum); Nagel Hall at Denver University (LEED Gold) with structural brick walls and brick veneer that uses thermal mass to reduce energy use; and The Solaire multifamily rental tower in New York City (LEED Gold).

“Fired clay brick is the greenest building material made in America, and made from abundant natural resources,” said Ray Leonhard, president & CEO, the Brick Industry Association (BIA).

Brick’s proven green performance and sustainability include:

  • Natural materials: Fired clay brick is made from clay and shale, and available in many permanent colors and shades that do not fade, unlike competitors.
  • Brick does not off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other toxic materials.
  • Manufacturing: More than 80% of brick kilns are fired with natural gas; numerous plants use fuels of bio-based materials from other industrial applications and waste products.
  • Almost no wasted material: Virtually all of the clay and shale to make brick ends up in the brick itself. Brick can also use materials recycled from other industries’ manufacturing processes, such as sawdust.
  • Thermal mass helps lower energy use: Unlike thin, light building materials, brick’s natural thermal mass helps it store heat during the day, then slowly release the energy later.
  • Local resources: Reducing fossil fuels, at least two brick plants are located within 500 miles of 49 of the country’s top 50 metropolitan areas.
  • Long life: Brick’s superior durability offers a 100-year life span vs. a 25- to 50-year life span with vinyl siding.


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