ISQ has teamed up with the Camara de Guimarães (Landscape Laboratory) and the Waste Recovery Center (CVR) to start E-brick, a project that aims to incorporate cigarette butts into building elements, namely bricks. Advantages: we have a lighter product with better insulation properties and that reduces by 60% the energy consumption required for its production. In Portugal, every year, a large number of cigarette butts will stop at landfills and incinerators or are abandoned in parks and gardens, beaches and sidewalks. This innovative project aims to integrate in the composition of traditional bricks the cigarette beatas – coming from the EcoPontas of the Chamber of Guimarães – through manufacturing processes executed in the waste recovery center. In essence, we are talking about reuse and recycling of municipal waste, leveraging related activities that, through research and development, can give rise to new products. "ISQ has once again demonstrated its capacity as an interface entity by establishing strategic partnerships between municipalities and R&D centers, enhancing sustainable construction solutions as well as a greener municipality. In this way, we were also able to build on the various phases of the project, from the prototype to its implementation in a case study building," stresses Muriel Iten, head of isq's I&Di – Low Carbon & Energy Efficiency unit. The process of concretizing the E-Brick will go through three moments: initially, the prototypes of the product will be created and developed.After the acquisition of the prototype, several tests will be carried out to characterize the brick, with the main objective of verifying its compliance with European standards and regulations. In a final phase of the project, it is intended to bring together a group of companies in the ceramic sector for the product to be presented to them. The Chamber of Guimarães will, in parallel, evaluate the possibility of these companies applying the bricks manufactured by E-Brick in some of the buildings that are currently under restoration. It has already been proven, in several international scientific studies, that the composition of cigarette butts has advantages in the incorporation of bricks, namely their contribution to the reduction of clay – the raw material for the construction of bricks – and the reuse of cigarette buttas as waste. In addition, the beatas reduce the energy resources in the production of bricks, which improves the energy efficiency of the processes. In a way, they can reduce almost 60% the energy consumption required for brick production, the final product becomes lighter and has better insulation properties, that is, reduces future costs with heating and cooling of built environments.
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