Annual Report 2015: 2015 Gorkha earthquake response

Quake Repair Leads to Greener Kilns

The towering chimneys of around 110 brick kilns in the Kathmandu Valley shattered in the April 25 earthquake, causing an estimated USD 11 million in damage and leaving the kilns almost non-operational just when bricks would be needed the most for rebuilding. One reason for the widespread collapse was the design of the kilns, most of which were old-style models that are energy-intensive, inefficient, and highly polluting as well as vulnerable to earthquakes.

ICIMOD responded by working with kiln owners to rebuild in ways that not only improve seismic strength, but can trim coal consumption by up to 30 per cent and reduce the emission of harmful pollutants. Technical support to kiln owners, in collaboration with the brick industry and engineers who specialize in sustainable kiln design, led to a practical rebuilding guide that includes engineered designs and drawings. The stronger, greener designs were set to be implemented in 20 kilns during the postquake brick season.