The Materials Book

253 From India: Three Lessons in Sustainable Construction Soumen Maity India is witnessing strong economic growth driven by its increasing population, expanding industry, and rapid urbanization. While per capita consumption of building materials is low compared to the rest of the world, cement and brick producers are India’s biggest consumers of natural resources and significant contributors to CO 2 emissions. Those considerations spurred the Society for Technology & Action for Rural Advancement (TARA), a three-decade- old social enterprise based in New Delhi, to develop greener technologies and processes for the construction industry. Three of these—EcoKilns, Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LC3), and new methods for the reuse of construction waste—have been proven at commercial scale and are being adopted by companies small and large. The EcoKiln, developed in India and now being promoted in several African countries, offers a more energy-efficient way of creating burnt-clay bricks. The EcoKiln consists of a rectangular shaft lined with a heat-resistant refractory surface. After workers load dried green bricks and a measured amount of fuel from the top, the bricks are heated and hardened before being unloaded from the bottom. This technique can reduce emissions and improve the quality of the bricks, with consistent durability and uniform color, shape, and size. Traditional brick production relies on fuelwood, but the EcoKiln can use coal or biomass briquettes, and unlike most kilns, it has a roof that protects it from rain. That allows it to operate year-round, even in the rainy season, providing secure employment to local workers. The modular way the kiln

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