The UK has around 22 million or so residential dwellings, most of which are built out of brick, block or stone masonry. Although many of these properties were built more than 100 years ago, surprisingly little is known about their whole life environmental performance and the amount of maintenance they require.
This project has been concerned with quantifying the post-factory gate environmental impacts of maintaining the external masonry walls in residential dwellings. These were then combined with pre-factory gate (production) impacts arising to develop whole life environmental profiles of different forms of masonry walling.
Unlike most UK publications on life cycle assessment, which simply assume a 60 year life for all buildings, this project has evaluated whole life performance of masonry walls at ages up to 500 years. The results of the investigation have shown that the adoption of a 60 year life for residential buildings built with masonry is wasteful in environmental terms. The results of this work should enable architects, designers and engineers to use masonry materials in a more sustainable manner overall.
The project has been funded by the UK Brick Development Association Ltd and EPSRC.