Environment Times is raising money for the homeless this winter by creating a 'virtual ecohouse'. Ibstock Brick is one of the donors. They write: Ibstock - the UK's biggest brickmaker. We have 20 factories nationwide and a range of over 500 different bricks and rainscreen cladding systems.
At Ibstock we have taken some of our environmental ideas and put them into action - creating a range of eco-products that can help meet the special environmental needs of a site - often now a requirement of the planning process. The importance of creating eco-habitats is now recognised in the Code for Sustainable Housing. Our eco product range includes brick eco-habitats for bats and swifts and Ecoterre® Earth Bricks
Ecoterre® is a range of unfired clay bricks intended for most internal non load-bearing applications. Unfired clay bricks have excellent sustainability credentials – low energy input, very low waste and high recyclability and Ecoterre® is manufactured in the UK.
When incorporated into a building they give thermal mass and acoustic insulation, inhibit condensation and regulate the relative humidity of the atmosphere. Ecoterre® is available in two sizes and with a smooth finish if required. The distinctive keyed faces of earth bricks have been developed to provide an excellent bond with plaster or mortar to the surfaces. Please note that perforation patterns may vary.
IBSTOCK AND SUSTAINABILITY
Ibstock has been continuously improving its environmental credentials and sustainability; it is fully supportive of the British Ceramic Confederation and the Brick Development Association Initiatives. Clay brick was one of the pioneer group for the development of sustainability strategies.
Ibstock has fully embraced the Government's strategy for sustainability. Clay brick, has a long service life, is re-usable upon demolition and is completely inert. Clay can be recycled back into manufacture; wastage is minimal. Clay is taken mostly from quarries adjacent to the factories, often in the countryside, where the impact of transport is minimised.
While brick requires significant energy to produce, over its life the energy consumption is outweighed by the energy used by a building's occupiers. Clay brick has high thermal mass and low conductivity, contributing to the building's own efficiency.
Ibstock is committed to better business through sustainable and 'green' strategies and employs a full time environmental manager. Our efforts were recognised by winning the Sustainability Award at The Building Awards 2004 for the depth and comprehensiveness of our environmental programme. Ibstock is the first building materials supplier to win this prestigious award.
2013 saw the first indications of a sustained improvement in demand since before the recession. As a result we hope that the operation of our kilns and dryers at sub-optimal performance may be coming to an end.
During the year we commissioned a major upgrade to one of our installations where we expect the energy consumption per tonne of product to be significantly reduced and the consequent CO2 emissions also reduced.
However, despite all of the promising signs in the market and the benefits of our investments we are increasingly aware that environmental levies and taxes placed upon energy supplies in the UK will risk making the UK brick industry less competitive than European competitors.
The Government has made some monies available to energy intensive industries to offset these levies and taxes but unfortunately they are all related to exemption from the indirect costs of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) for electricity generation. Because of the way that the rules for this exemption are drawn up they specifically exclude heavy clay ceramics such as bricks from any benefits which are available to many other energy intensive industries. We are left with either having to pass these increasing costs on to our customers (which European competitors do not have to do) or reduce the accrued benefits of our investments.