Carbon neutral bricks

Sawdust and the constant quest for improvement fuels a unique certification

Brickworks Building Products has long been at the forefront in reducing the environmental impact of its extensive operations and conserving our precious natural resources.

Two of its brick brands, Daniel Robertson and Austral Bricks (Tasmania), have achieved the environmental “holy grail” of having their products certified as Carbon Neutral under the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard. View the certification here.

Clay bricks are often accused of being environmentally compromised due to the relatively high natural gas consumption required in kiln firing. This simplistic approach overlooks their long life, role as thermal mass in an energy-efficient design, reusability, and the fact that bricks do not require resource-hungry finishes such as paint or render to maintain their good looks and durability.

The Carbon Neutral certification of Daniel Robertson and Austral Bricks (Tasmania) products is largely achieved by the use of a unique fuel for kiln firing at the Longford plant near Launceston. That fuel is sawdust, a biomass and byproduct of the local timber industry.

This use of biomass – biological material derived from living, or recently-living organisms – instead of fossil fuels is largely responsible for the Longford plant’s low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, just 215 tonnes per year, about the same as 12 average Australian households.

In contrast, a conventional natural gas fired kiln of the same capacity could emit almost 8,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

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The Carbon Neutral Program measures all emissions contributors including extraction, transport, packaging, waste and even administration, not just kiln emissions. Incremental energy-efficiency improvements have also been made to other aspects of Longford’s operations.

All remaining greenhouse gas emissions are offset by purchasing carbon credits that assist in local projects such as tree planting under the Forests Alive program (forestsalive.com).

Architects, builders and consumers can now specify bricks from Daniel Robertson and Austral Bricks (Tasmania) knowing that their manufacture results in zero net emissions of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

“This certification is an Australian first and another step in Brickworks Building Products’ journey towards becoming Australia’s most sustainable building materials company,” says Lindsay Partridge, managing director of Brickworks Limited.

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Article by John Pagsolingan

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