Organic bricks are certainly the step that will pave the way for the consolidation of green architecture. Made from ecological materials such as coal and vegetable fibers, these will be the instruments used in the race for the decontamination of cities.
The initiative was born at the Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI), under the project name “The Green Charcoal” in the educational center located in Mumbai, in an effort to find healthier alternatives to current building materials which are one of the main causes of global warming. In the study, the ISDI states that ”about 8 to 15 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions are attributed to the manufacture of cement.” They still require a small amount of this contaminating material, but in much smaller amounts.
Besides, concrete waste from demolished buildings is dumped in landfills without recycling being able to have a compensating effect whatsoever, especially in India, so this has become a key alternative due to the current circumstances. It’s worth mentioning that this lightweight material doesn’t require aggregates such as sand or metals. In the words of Shreyas More, researcher of the project, ”the green charcoal compound has a 90% reduction in the use of coarse aggregate, a 4% reduction in cement, 4% reduction in fine aggregate, 21% increase in air pockets. This is aimed at creating a breathing state of architecture to ensure increased biodiversity in cities while providing healthy urban solutions for people.”
More details about its composition: These bricks are twenty times more porous than regular ones, since the natural sponge of loofah (plant used to manufacture bath sponges) contains air sachets that naturally create this effect through a fibrous network. Charcoal, a component that absorbs nitrates, is inserted in small amounts so it cleanses the oxygen and serves as food for living beings that inhabit the bubbles of the material. The pores in the bricks act as ”small water tanks” which results in an ecological air conditioning able to reduce temperatures in indoor environments.
Green Charcoal could be developed for curbs, road dividers and coating materials or it could be used for constructions requiring low structural strength. Research continues to explore biophilic compositions with natural color palettes and patterns to make future cities a healthier place.
When it comes to connecting humans and nature, More wrote for AD that “in biophilic spaces, people are happier, patients recover faster, students learn better, retail sales are higher, workplace productivity increases and absenteeism decreases,” so the benefits of this material are beyond controlling temperatures and cleaning the air. It’s an inspiration for more positive societies that are connected to nature.