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Building on the sustainable possibilities of clay brick

This UK-based supplier sources Dutch brick from a factory that runs on self-generated electricity and energy recovery. How it imports, stores and delivers product is innovative too

In association with
The Rijswaard Baksteen factory on the Afgedamde Maas river in the Netherlands. Over 50 per cent of energy consumed is generated by the solar panels that cover half of the brick storage yard's roof.
The Rijswaard Baksteen factory on the Afgedamde Maas river in the Netherlands. Over 50 per cent of energy consumed is generated by the solar panels that cover half of the brick storage yard's roof.

The sustainability credentials of clay facing bricks are well documented.

Their durability and longevity provide long building design lives. Their high thermal mass contributes to a building’s reduced energy consumption throughout its lifetime. The ease by which they can be reclaimed and repurposed is also well known.

All About Bricks (AAB) is a leading manufacturer and supplier of brick for architects, developers and self-builders and has been established in the UK for over 25 years. Its parent company, Rijswaard Baksteen, is committed to genuine, tangible and impactful sustainability measures.

Rijswaard Baksteen bricks from AAB: the production process

The Rijswaard Baksteen factory is located on the Afgedamde Maas river in the Netherlands, where the company ships raw materials to its on-site quay. This helps eliminate road transport and localised pollution from the products’ carbon footprint.

To reduce energy consumption within the factory processes and in the resulting product, the state-of-the-art plant utilises two Combined Heat Power (CHP) installations. These recover heat released from flue gases and convert it into new energy.

This process also takes residual heat from the kiln and reuses it in the drying chambers, drying the next bricks by utilising waste energy.

With a 210 metre long tunnel kiln fired on natural gas, the factory meets the strictest requirements for flue gas emissions thanks to a flue gas cleaning system that filters out any soot particles present in the flue gases. 

Clay facing bricks essentially require two significant raw materials: clay, which is sourced from the flood plains of major Dutch rivers, and water. A water purification installation enables previously dirty rinsing water to be cleaned and re-used in the production process.

  • A clay pit at the factory. Raw materials are shipped to an on-site quay.
    A clay pit at the factory. Raw materials are shipped to an on-site quay.
  • The 210 metre long tunnel kiln.
    The 210 metre long tunnel kiln.
  • AAB floats product across the channel in coaster ships carrying 800,000 bricks at a time - the equivalent of the payload of 64 articulated lorries.
    AAB floats product across the channel in coaster ships carrying 800,000 bricks at a time - the equivalent of the payload of 64 articulated lorries.
  • One of AAB's UK stocking areas located around the East and South East of the country.
    One of AAB's UK stocking areas located around the East and South East of the country.
  • ‘Virtual factories’ stock product around the UK, reducing road haulage to UK construction sites.
    ‘Virtual factories’ stock product around the UK, reducing road haulage to UK construction sites.
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Solar-panelled storage

After moulding, drying and firing, the bricks are palletised and covered to ensure they are protected from the elements when stored on UK sites.

The pallet wraps are an LDPE material, which is widely recyclable in the UK and, since March 2022, the wrapping contains 30 per cent recycled material. 

By covering half of the factory’s brick storage yards’ new 24,000m2 roof with 7,140 solar panels, over half the factory’s energy consumption is generated by Rijswaard Baksteen's own solar investment.

Together with the energy produced from the two CHP investments, this ensures the plant is tangibly contributing to CO2 reductions in the electricity it consumes.

Export and delivery to site

Products are floated across the channel in coaster ships carrying 800,000 bricks (1,280 pallets) at a time. This means bricks can be imported to UK ports directly from the factory, creating regional ‘virtual factories’ and stocking areas around the East and South East of the UK.

Carrying the equivalent of the payload of 64 articulated lorries in one ship places sustainably produced, quality soft-mud clay facing bricks in regional storage locations, minimising UK road haulage when transporting bricks to construction sites around the UK.

For more information and technical support, visit aab.build


Contact:
01623 646251
info@aab.build


 

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