18 March 2014 — Austral has become the first company to create bricks and pavers certified as carbon neutral under the government’s national Carbon Offset Standard.
The bricks are available nationally under the Daniel Robertson brand and are manufactured by Austral at its Longford plant in Tasmania.
Under NCOS, the government requires the measurement, auditing and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the offset of any remaining emissions to be certified. Certification measures a range of emissions contributors, including raw material extraction, onsite transport, product deliveries across Australia and internationally, water use, packaging, waste and business operations.
The carbon neutral certification of Austral’s pavers and bricks range at Longford has been mainly due to the use of sawdust for kiln firing, a by-product of the local timber industry.
“The use of low emissions biomass, as opposed to fossil fuels, is largely responsible for the Longford plant’s low carbon dioxide emissions,” said Steven Mouzakis, national energy and sustainability manager for parent company Brickworks Building Products.
“Emissions from the biomass are just 215 tonnes per year – about the same as 12 average Australian households. In contrast, a conventional natural gas kiln of the same capacity could emit approximately 8000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.”
Energy efficiency improvements, including to building lighting, were also cited as a contributor to the carbon neutral certification, with the remaining carbon offset by purchasing carbon credits from Tasmanian projects.
“This is just one more step in Brickworks Building Products’ journey towards becoming Australia’s most sustainable building products manufacturer,” Mr Mouzakis said.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt welcomed the news.
“Congratulations to Austral Bricks on becoming a leader in their field,” he said in a statement.
“For businesses, being carbon neutral means looking carefully for ways to reduce energy emissions, which makes good business sense as well as being good for the environment.”