Joint commitment to sustainability by Knauf Australia and Lendlease results in Australia’s first carbon neutral plasterboards
With an overall commitment to reducing the environmental impact of building construction, a joint venture sparked by a partnership at Barangaroo Sydney has resulted in Australia’s first carbon neutral plasterboard being available for projects in New South Wales and Queensland.
Knauf Australia has placed a long-term focus on reducing environmental impact through extensive manufacturing changes. This offered Lendlease, the lead developer of Barangaroo South, a solid opportunity to in their endeavour to implement a range of sustainability initiatives in the project. One of their targets was a 20% reduction in Embodied Carbon (EC), covering the sum of all greenhouse gas emissions created during the manufacture, transport and installation of building materials for the project”.
Working initially on the Alexander and Andara residential buildings, comprising of 159 apartments and ground level retail space amounting to 18,225m2 of combined floor space, the project presented a unique partnership opportunity with Knauf Australia in a project that would significantly impact on their target of EC reduction.
“Plasterboard wall linings make up a significant proportion of the building materials for this project,” says Kathryn Walker, National Sustainability Manager, Knauf Australia. “Lendlease approached us to see if we could work with them to provide a means of meeting their sustainability requirements.”
Measures such as the recycling of waste heat in the plastermill, heat exchangers installed on dryers, reduction of water usage, optimised mixing processes, a move to natural light and LEDs in the factory and ongoing staff training for operational
efficiency and behaviour, have been implemented since 2009 to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacture of plasterboard in the Knauf Matraville plant. In order to meet the stringent standards required for carbon neutral certification under the Government’s National Carbon Offset Standards (NCOS) Scheme, the entire manufacturing process was documented, bringing them within close reach of the overall target.
Where their environmental reduction measures weren’t able to completely eliminate carbon emissions, Knauf used qualified providers of carbon offsets that not only met the NCOS standard requirements, but that also met their own social responsibility criteria of providing social and environmental benefits to communities, in this case in Kenya through the LifeStraw Project.
“With a long-term commitment to producing our boards in an ethical and environmentally considerate manufacturing process, we were excited to be invited to be part of this challenge on such an auspicious project,” says Walker.
“Barangaroo is a vibrant new waterfront financial district, with a mix of world class office space, premium residential buildings, as well as vibrant shopping, dining, hotel, hospitality and public places. Barangaroo is aiming to be Australia’s first large scale carbon neutral community. We’re proud to have been able to meet those standards at the same time as being able to extend the offer of these products as carbon neutral options for future developments.”
Available from the Knauf Australia Matraville plant for projects along the Eastern seaboard from Sydney to Brisbane, developers are able to opt in for three products, MastaShield, WaterShield and FireShield, to be supplied with Carbon Neutral certification.
“The leadership shown by Lendlease in this area provides opportunities for manufacturers like us to develop commercially viable sustainability solutions. We hope that other developers will take their lead towards more sustainable construction.”