Carrot And Stick Approach To Cut Carbon Emissions

Carrot And Stick Approach To Cut Carbon Emissions

The Clay Brick Association AGM & Conference held in May 2019 focused on topics that improve sustainability in both clay brick production and the built environment.

Carbon Tax has taken a long time to come to fruition, but it is here in South Africa from 1 June 2019.

The clay brick sector is committed to playing their part in meeting Government’s targets to reduce carbon emissions. The Clay Brick Association of South Africa (CBA), a member-based non-profit organisation, supports and builds capacity in the national clay brick supply chain,

The CBA is driving several integrated sustainability initiatives to give stakeholders access to accurate, locally-relevant research,” explains Mariana Lamont, executive director of the CBA.

We are engaging with both formal and informal brickmakers, the public sector and construction professional like architects, quantity surveyors and construction buyers. We keep the industry informed on legislation and opportunities for improved energy efficiency in both brick manufacturing and the built environment.

Vertical shaft brick kiln technology (VSBK) technology uses hot
exhaust gasses for the gradual preheating of the unfired bricks in
a continuous process, thus reducing energy consumption and CO2
emissions by up to 50% compared to the more commonly used clamp
kilns. Image: Rowe Group

We are proud to announce that over the last 5 years, the CBA’s programmes have resulted in a 10-15% reduction in the clay brick industry’s greenhouse gas emissions,” she concludes.

Carbon Tax

At the CBA’s recent annual conference, Lisa Reynolds of Green Building Design Group (GreenBDG) advised CBA members on Carbon Tax legislation.

Carbon Tax is for Scope 1 emissions – “polluter pays principle”. It calls for R120/tonne of Co2 equivalents, but with the allowances, the actual liability is between R6 to R48 per tonne of CO2e. A fuel levy of 9/10 cents will be imposed on petrol/diesel due to the Carbon Tax. Payment of the Tax will be done via the Customs and Excise Act. Misinformation submitted will result in substantial fines.

As part of its Switch Africa Green programme funded by the European Union, the CBA has established an online portal that will benchmark the industry and assist in calculating some Carbon Tax allowances. The consolidated, anonymous reporting identifies where real savings are being achieved by members, and provides accurate, local research for potential future mitigation projects.

SANS 10400-XA

SANS 10400-XA (Version 2) on energy-efficiency in buildings is on track for publication this year.

The construction industry professional will be pleased to hear that it is more user-friendly and there is no reference to SANS 204. The reference building route to compliance exists in the Regulation and will thus be scrapped from the standard, leaving only two routes to comply: The tables and the “recipe” route. An important change is the map revised by the CSIR. The new map reflects energy zones (rather than climatic zones) that consider the energy (and humidity) needed to achieve thermal comfort inside a building.

The energy efficiency performance requirements within this standard are being made slightly more stringent. While the regulations for non-masonry walling remain unchanged, there will be a higher thermal performance requirement for masonry walling. This means that concrete and brick walling will require some kind of thermal intervention – such as a cavity wall– which is more difficult to construct.

The thermal performance requirement for walling will further depend on the type of building and the hours of day the building is used.

I believe the biggest impact of the revised SANS 10400-XA in the market will be in terms of masonry walling,” reports Lisa Reynolds.

The previous standards were quite low. In poor communities cavity walls are a challenge, and developers will need to consider composite walling with insulation in order to comply.”

Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives

The tax rebates for energy efficient projects – Tax 12i and Tax 12L – were launched in 2013 as incentives to save energy and thereby reduce Carbon emissions. Tax 12L offers a rebate of 95 cents per verified kWh saved (confirmed by a SANAS accredited, independent body). The sunset clause for the Tax Incentives has been extended to 2022 in alignment with the Carbon Tax.

Nothing wasted, everything gained

Nothing wasted, everything gained

This ultra-modern, sustainable home makes extensive use of recycled materials. To ensure energy-efficiency it incorporates the best of passive design including clever orientation, double glazing, cross-ventilation, strategic shading and the thermal mass of clay brick.

Clay bricks are highly durable and have a life expectancy of hundreds of years. Bricks can also be reused, which minimises waste and distributes their carbon footprint over an extended life span.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Renovation of an existing building can result in significant reductions in both cost and environmental impact compared with levelling the site and rebuilding. Because of aesthetic appeal and longevity, brick masonry buildings often are chosen for reuse. In many cases, load-bearing brick buildings are reused in their entirety. In other cases, the brick walls retained while new facings and extensions are built around the core.
Because of the desirability often associated with genuine brick buildings, adaptive reuse of brick masonry is increasingly popular saving both resources and energy.

Use of salvaged materials avoids the environmental impacts associated with new products. Salvaged brick can be reused, although material performance tests of very old bricks should be done if they are to be used in load-bearing structures. Because of the small, modular nature of brick, scrap brick on construction sites is easily crushed and used for landfill. It is commonly used as sub-base material for pavements, on quarry roads or even as aggregate for concrete.

Due to the strength of clay brick pavers, there is a flourishing market for old pavers, which is used to restore damaged driveways and paths. Because brick is so hardy, packaging on palletised, newly-purchased bricks is minimal and easily recycled.

Reducing waste during manufacture
The brick industry in South Africa is committed to minimising waste and to managing any remaining waste responsibly. As a result, the volume of waste per tonne of production is very low compared with international counterparts, equating to 0.75% when it was last measured in 2014. Numerous initiatives completed by the clay brick industry over the past two years have further reduced these numbers.

Small red- and blue-glazed bricks are combined with recycled clay brick to create an interesting play of light, shadow and colour on this three-story exterior wall. A one-bedroom “studio” has been innovatively extended into a family home – with swimming pool.

Both unfired (also called green) and fired brick are recycled during the manufacturing process. The CBA’s recently completed LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) shows the following efficient use of brick waste during production:

Dematerialisation – where bricks are perforated with holes during manufacture – is another way to reduce waste. This decreases raw material and water use during forming as well as reducing energy use during firing. Contractors also prefer perforated products because the bricks are lighter and easier to handle and transport.
However dematerialisation presents challenges in handling the brittle green bricks before and during firing. Several South African brick makers have invested in technology that now allows them to offer perforated products to buyers.

This type of investment in advanced manufacturing techniques supports the clay brick industry’s commitment to the ‘triple bottom line’ – it benefits brick makers, the environment and the communities in which these operations are situated.

SA clay brick industry bids farewell to Swisscontact EECB project team

SA clay brick industry bids farewell to Swisscontact EECB project team

On behalf of EECB, John Volsteedt and Luca de Giovanetti, EECB Project Managers, expressed their deepest thanks to their colleagues across the sector and to Swisscontact for their unfailing support throughout this rewarding journey

At a sparkling event in Freedom Park Pretoria, dignitaries from Switzerland and South Africa bid farewell to the team from Swisscontact. It was a fitting finale for the 8-year Energy Efficient Clay Brick (EECB) Project, a Swiss-funded environmental sustainability and climate change initiative for South Africa.

The project has had a major impact on the energy-efficiency of the brick-making industry, which is heavily reliant on fossil fuels like coal. The EECB brought together the skills and experience of entrepreneurs, environmental specialists, consultants, government and brick-makers to expand local knowledge, raise awareness and build capacity with regard to low carbon technologies and best practice.

Mrs Helene Budliger Artieda, the Swiss Ambassador to South Africa reiterated her country’s commitment to economic cooperation that contributes to climate-friendly growth through the development of low-carbon industries

The EECB project, which has been funded by The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented in South Africa by Swisscontact, exceeded its objectives by successfully facilitating a 15% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the last four years – which will be an ongoing legacy for the South African clay brick sector.

Representing the project team of industry experts, Juancho Hagnauer described how the EECB project motivated, educated, facilitated and financed initiatives that mitigate climate impact and improve the air quality. Areas of intervention included:

  • Working directly with brick-makers to facilitate economically-viable, locally-relevant firing and production technologies

  • Creating an enabling environment through access to finance as well as positive awareness of the need for environmental policies

  • Support in benchmarking the current state of the industry through the sector Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and ongoing industry South African Clay Brick Sustainability Report

  • In-depth research, case studies and cost-benefit assessments for use by brick-makers on a wide range of energy-saving and low-emissions options for ongoing improvements.

CEO of Swisscontact Samuel Bon, reminded the industry leaders that a climate-smart economy is not only more sustainable for the environment, but reduces costs while improving business productivity, quality and competitiveness

The EECB project will continue its good work under the direction of the Clay Brick Association of South Africa.

As an industry, we are committed to make good use of the wealth of research done by the EECB team to improve the energy efficiency of clay brick manufacturing processes,” confirms CBA President Musa Shangase.

The CBA and its members continue their work into the future as we reduce our industry’s carbon footprint and emissions for the good of all South African communities.”

Representing the EECB project team [R to L] John Volsteedt, Luca de Giovanetti and Juancho Hagnauer

The VSBK kiln at Langkloof Bricks, an energy-efficiency improvement project facilitated by the EECB Project, uses 82.5 grams of coal per kg of fired brick. Just 2.5 grams of this is external fuel during the firing process