With a wide variety of types, uses, colors, compositions, and a huge range of applications, brick is the king of green building materials.
Brick provides an energy-efficient building envelope due to its thermal mass. Taking advantage of this benefit helps reduce peak heating and cooling loads, potentially reducing HVAC system size. Brick is also fire and impact resistant, and provides significant soundproofing benefits.
Environmental impacts can also be reduced by using brick. Most brick is manufactured from natural materials located near the vicinity of a brick plant, as opposed to transporting materials from far distances. Brick is also easily recyclable, dramatically cutting down on construction waste.
EARTHLY BENEFITS OF BRICK:
Brick's estimated lifespan is well over 100 years or longer...and that's conservative considering brick structures are still standing after 2,300 years in Rome.
When most people talk about the energy efficiency of a wall, they usually only consider R-value. This doesn't work for brick because walls are more than the cladding materials - they are part of a wall assembly. Brick wall assemblies possess two unique characteristics - usually not accounted for in R-value measurements - that significantly contribute to energy performance and reduce energy costs. These characteristics are thermal mass and air space...read about it here.
There are reasons why there is a vibrant salvage market for brick, but not one for fiber cement, vinyl siding and other synthetic materials. Brick is essentially 100% recyclable and is frequently retained on buildings when they are completely renovated. Moreover, the building codes allow brick to be re-used as an exterior cladding material in another building.
Brick never needs painting...which lowers your overall maintenance costs.
Brick is mold, mildew and fungus resistant