K-briq: Building a future from construction waste

An inspirational case study on the K-Briq and the ways it used local materials.

A more sustainable brick – made in Scotland

The K-briq is an idea whose time has come – but it has taken ten years to get to this point.

It was initially conceived by Gabriela Medero during her time as a professor at Heriot-Watt University’s School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) in response to her growing concerns about the environmental impact of traditional building materials and methods.

After a decade-long process of research, development, testing and proving, with support from Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), spin-out company Kenoteq is ready to scale up production and create the first commercial batches of K-briqs, ready to be used in new building projects.



Clay brick without the environmental drawbacks

The HWU research team wanted to explore the viability of creating an entirely new building material using construction waste.

The goal was to tackle the huge amounts of waste generated by the industry every year, a major contributor to its status as the world’s second-largest producer of CO2 emissions.

The K-briq research team was also keen to avoid concrete or other cement-based materials, being acutely aware of the environmental impact of cement production, estimated at around 8% of the world’s carbon emissions.

It was also to explore a more economically and environmentally-sustainable supply chain. 85 per cent of the bricks used in Scotland are brought in from England or Europe, another factor in the construction industry’s carbon footprint.

The K-briq concept aimed to determine whether it would be possible to create a material that would offer all the positive qualities of clay brick without the environmental drawbacks.

Read the full case study



Material benefits at a glance

90% recycled waste

used in brick

2x the insulation properties

vs traditional brick

<10% manufacturing emissions

compared to clay brick

Locally-sourced materials,

global application

3m bricks per year

is next target