LafargeHolcim and CDC Group plc (‘CDC’), the UK’s development finance institution, have today announced the creation of 14Trees, a joint-venture that aims to accelerate the production and commercialization of Durabric – an environmentally-friendly, affordable alternative to traditional clay burnt bricks.
14Trees will benefit from the expertise of LafargeHolcim’s R&D centre, the world’s leading building materials research centre, to help address the growing demand for affordable housing for some of the nearly 3 billion people around the world living in earth-based houses.
Many African countries face the effects of climate change as a result of widespread deforestation that is driven by the demand for wood used in the production of clay burnt bricks. An expanding construction sector boosted by population growth and urbanisation also puts pressure on resources and increasingly fragile ecosystems.
Durabric offers a solution to address these challenges, as the bricks are produced from a mixture of earth and cement, compressed in a mould, and left naturally to cure without firing, in the process saving up to 14 trees per house. By avoiding this firing phase, Durabric reduces greenhouse gas emissions tenfold compared to traditional fired bricks.
In addition, 14Trees will market a comprehensive range of innovative building solutions, including for screeds and roofing, reducing total construction costs by nearly 25 per cent compared to traditional solutions.
Already used in Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia, 14Trees will enable Durabric to be commercialized in other countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 3 million of these bricks have already been produced in Malawi since 2013, and have been used in around 500 buildings. A new Durabric production plant is being built in Malawi and will open in the third quarter of 2016.
The initial joint investment size is CHF10m (from CDC and LafargeHolcim) with the intention to further finance the company’s future growth.
Further information on Durabric is now available on a dedicated website:www.durabric.com