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