Clay brick’s are renowned for their thermal attributes that provide warmth in winter and cooler conditions in summer, thus ensuring that energy is not squandered on artificial heating and cooling mechanisms.
Thermal transmittance refers to the material’s ability to transmit or resist heat energy, while capacity refers to the amount of heat the building material will store. Clay bricks have excellent ratings in both, making them a superior choice for building in areas with high day-time and low night-time temperatures. Air humidity is also regulated, creating an ideal climate that is close to the preferred human comfort zone in both the coolest and hottest months.
While architects are attracted by their flexibility and ageless visual appeal, they also maximise on the energy efficiencies of clay brick, which have an ability to trap solar heat in during the day and then slowly release it through the building at night.
In many countries, wall thermal resistance (R-value) is directly correlated with energy efficiency. This is because buildings in Europe and North America use most of their energy in keeping homes warm at night and through bitterly cold winters.
Here in South Africa, R-values are only one measurement to consider because most of the year our objective is to cool our homes rather than heat them. South African buildings require walling materials that have a high thermal mass to achieve both optimum warmth in winter as well as cooling in summer.
R-Value is a theoretical figure that measures a material's resistance to conductive heat transfer, but it does not factor in the time taken for heat to traverse a layer of high mass. To account for both factors we need to measure the thermal diffusivity or CR-value. (Thermal Mass).
Buildings should be built to last and as such the life cycle value of a building derived from long term durability, low maintenance and energy savings should be the key determining factor to be taken into account. Clay bricks fulfil all these requirements in ensuring solid quality constructions, and offer the most efficient and cost-effective solutions in the long-term.