When it comes to cooling down homes, researchers and architects are finding new and inventive materials to make the building passively do the work to lower energy costs. Australian scientists created a polymer material for roofs that helps them, and whatever structure they’re on top of, stay cooler. In a similar effort to reduce temperatures in dwellings, Colombian architects Miguel Niño and Johanna Navarro created a company, Sumart Diseño y Arquitectura SAS, to make a new kind of brick.
The Bloque Termodisipador BT is a ceramic brick that regulates temperature all on its own, thanks to its unique shape and hollow center. “Its unusual shape, made up of a rectangle and an irregular scalene triangle, partially protects the brick from solar radiation and the transfer of heat. The separation between the blocks, combined with the channels that make up the irregular scalene triangles, allows ventilation to pass through the bricks, quickly dissipating the stored heat and reducing the amount of thermal energy emitted into the interior of the building,” according to the architects. The channels make the heat’s path longer, so it takes longer for a smaller amount to enter the building.
The brick’s shape also reduces the amount of noise that passes into the building, Niño and Navarro say. The process for creating the bricks isn’t all that different from traditional clay brick firing, so there wouldn’t be a large supply chain upheaval. Installing the Bloque is also similar, if a little more efficient because the same amount of mortar is used for each, removing any guesswork. Unlike rectangular bricks, the new design can have different arrangements for aesthetic reasons, without having to add finishes, reducing time and cost, according to ArchDaily. The bricks may look a bit unusual all by themselves, but together they can create some pretty patterns.