While sustainability is becoming commonplace in the construction industry, it has always formed an important component of Corobrik’s business – from the environmentally high-performing clay bricks to every aspect of its business operations.
“Sustainability doesn’t just make sense from a business perspective, it is the social and environmental responsibility of every organisation to incorporate this as part of the company ethos, and this is something Corobrik has never taken lightly,” explained Daniele Torricelli, Director of Engineering at Corobrik. “From the creation of our bricks to the actual nature of the brick itself, sustainability is key. There has been significant investment made in reducing our carbon footprint and Corobrik will continue to adapt as newer technology becomes available.”
The past decade has seen Corobrik investing heavily in more sustainable equipment including advanced extrusion technology at most of its factory. The technology reduces energy consumption while also increasing the brick’s fundamental integrity as a weather proof and structural building material, further benefitting the consumer.
New robotics introduced at Corobrik’s Rietvlei, Lawley and East Brick factories also served to reduce energy consumption on a number of fronts. The robotics allow for flexibility in production, lowering the demand on the energy grid during peak hours. Further to this, the consistent gaps in the setting pattern achieved by the robotics results in easy access of heat during the drying and firing processes, optimising the amount of energy needed for brick production.
Corobrik’s conversion from a coal fired, to a natural gas fired kiln, at its Lawley Factory has resulted in reduced emissions, earning its Lawley factory carbon credits for the effort. As it stands, five of Corobrik’s factories have attained ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems.
Committed to sustainability, Corobrik complies fully with the National Environment Management Act of 2014 (NEMA) and all quarries are concurrently rehabilitated in accordance with the individual Mine and Works Programme submitted as part of the application for a Mining Right. Further to this, each Corobrik quarry has its own independently accessed Environmental Impact Access or Environmental Management Plan. These are reviewed by the Department of Mineral Resources at various intervals, as amendments must be made regularly to comply with any changes to the law.
In addition to the stringent sustainability practices adopted by Corobrik, the products also rate highly with respect to their energy efficiency. The thermal property of thermal mass in clay face bricks is widely acknowledged for moderating indoor temperatures, off-setting the need for artificial heating and cooling which results in lower energy use. Human health also benefits because the inert qualities of fired clay means no dangerous levels of volatile organic compounds. The ability of fired clay to absorb and release humidity also results in the optimum humidity level for healthy living.
Torricelli said sustainable practices and innovations are improving on a daily basis: “Corobrik keeps abreast of all industry advancements and every effort will always be made to ensure our practices meet international sustainability-standards. This means a better product for our consumers and an improved global environment.”