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Smart Brick Has a Leg Up on LEGO

Thursday, August 28, 2014

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Lighter, tighter, stronger buildings could be on the way if a LEGO look-alike brick receives funding for full-scale production.

Smart Bricks, in development for three years by UK-based Kite Bricks, could save time, money and energy in construction and operation, their developers say.

"From now on, structures will be highly insulated, much stronger, and a lot cheaper," the company contends on its website.

Smart Bricks are designed to join easily, with open internal spaces for insulation and infrastructure elements.

While Smart Bricks might look LEGO-inspired, creator Ronnie Zohar says no.

Insulation and Strength

"It didn't come from there," he told Wired.co.uk. The focus was always on insulation and strength, he said. The connectivity of the blocks was secondary.

The idea came to Zohar, who also owns a company that improves window insulation, when he realized that insulation is not just an issue for windows.

"I realized that windows in the building are a small part of the heat problem; most of the problem is the concrete with the steel inside that gets hot or cold," he told Wired.

He said the trickiest part in developing the bricks was formulating a concrete material that is “light and strong like steel.”

The bricks are still in prototype stage. The company must raise around $3 million to go into full-scale production.

How They Work

According to the company’s website, the “bricks are designed to be easily joined together, with open internal spaces for insulation and infrastructure elements to be run through the bricks and allow for easy access to these elements.”

Smart Bricks LEGO
Kite Bricks

Currently in prototype phase, Smart Bricks were designed to be "light with the strength of steel."

The composition of the high-strength bricks helps to save money, energy and resources, the company says.

Using the system "can lead to savings of 50% of the total expenses associated with building an eight-story building," the company says, through "clean and quiet" construction that requires no scaffolding or cranes, no mortar or leveling, and no additional finishing work on site.

Smart Bricks also save on electricity and other energy costs by redirecting heat in the summer and trapping it in the winter, allowing for greater thermal energy control, the company says.

The bricks would be made to order so projects have the correct amount, minimizing waste, the developers say.

Assembly requires less labor than conventional building—and may, one day, even be completed by robots, they add.

   

Tagged categories: Brick; Building Envelope; Building materials; Building science; Commercial Construction; Concrete; Construction; Design; Residential Construction

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