Our business actions are guided by a commitment to sustainable development. The attention paid to employees’ health and safety, reducing our impact on the environment, respect for local communities and social responsibility are the foundations of our long term-growth. This commitment is demonstrated by the certification of Altona, Beenleigh and Matraville Plants to ISO 14001:2015 Environment, OHSAS 18001:2007 Health & Safety, and ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management systems. As Knauf strives to grow sustainably through continuous environmental improvements we work in three areas: smart construction solutions, environment and community.
Our partnership with our customers spans from the design and specification stages through to the project delivery and end of life. Whether used to construct a house or hospital, plasterboard possesses the characteristics of sustainable building materials and can readily be incorporated into projects requiring green star or other program certifications.
Smart construction solutions
Knauf’s technologically advanced products and systems provide the ultimate comfort for occupants, reducing noise and improving privacy, cleaning indoor air quality and offering flexibility in design and aesthetics.
Knauf offers a range of products certified by Global GreenTag to GreenRate Level A, including technical and specialty products such as Designpanel, TruRock and TruRock HD, as well as standard products like FireShield and SoundShield.
Knauf’s independently certified plasterboard products can achieve 100% Green Star points for sustainable building projects, and do not require further documentation to be submitted for the materials category of Green Star ratings tools. Our wide range of certified products means that efficient selections can be made for any project, from affordable housing through to high end public spaces.
Why plasterboard is ideal for sustainable construction
- Gypsum which is from either natural Australian sources as non-toxic and natural rock, or FGD gypsum - post industrial recycled gypsum. FGD gypsum is a by-product derived when removing sulphur dioxide gas emissions from electric power plants.
- Paper which is 100% recycled from magazines, office paper and newsprint.
- Water which is used to create the gypsum slurry. Process water and production waste are recycled within the factory so that no water is discharged.
- Additives which are used to enhance the properties of plasterboard such as fire resistance, moisture resistance and acoustic properties.
As a lightweight building material, plasterboard reduces transport costs and emissions as well as the total weight of buildings. The only packaging used for storing and transporting plasterboard are gluts which are fabricated from waste plasterboard. A 100% recyclable material, plasterboard can be recycled into new plasterboard, or soil conditioner which is used for farming and rehabilitation of mine sites. The energy used in the manufacture of plasterboard is amongst the lowest of any building product . Knauf participated in a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for plasterboard in Australia and New Zealand as part of our involvement in the Gypsum Board Manufacturers Association (GBMA). The assessment, also known as a “cradle to grave” assessment, establishes a benchmark for reducing the environmental impacts of plasterboard and offers a comparison with other building materials.The life cycle of plasterboard in Australia
Carbon Neutral Opt-in Program
Australian Government Carbon Neutral Program
The Carbon Neutral Program is a voluntary scheme which certifies products, services and organisations as carbon neutral against the National Carbon Offset Standard.
This Standard provides integrity through its guidance on genuine voluntary offsets and its minimum requirements for calculating, auditing and offsetting a carbon footprint to achieve carbon neutrality.
Organisations participating in the Carbon Neutral Program are taking the lead in Australia’s voluntary carbon sector and demonstrating their commitment to achieving a low carbon future.
What does it mean to be Carbon Neutral?
Carbon neutrality refers to a situation where the net greenhouse gas emissions of an organisation, service or a product are equal to zero.
To achieve Carbon Neutrality for Knauf products, we have built upon our energy efficiency work undertaken for the last 9 years. Our journey towards carbon neutrality started in 2009, and since this time we have introduced and invested in a wide range of measures aimed at reducing our overall carbon emissions. One such example being the employment of heat exchangers in the drying and waste heat recycling in our plastermill. Further examples can be found in the public disclosure document.
Having achieved our target carbon emission reductions, the greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be further eliminated are then offset so that the net carbon emissions resulting from the manufacture of our products is zero. This is achieved through carbon credits (or carbon offsets) which represent the reduction of one tonne of CO2-e from our atmosphere.
Knauf’s opt-in carbon offset program is certified to the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) and the program is now available for both plasterboard and metal framing products, thereby providing the opportunity to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of any commercial or residential construction project.
The opt-in carbon offset surcharge is simply applied to the standard square metre price of the board. Based on the amount of carbon neutral product purchased, the total tonnage of carbon emissions associated with that product are offset.
Lifestraw® Carbon for Water project
Knauf have chosen to offset the remaining carbon through the purchase of recognised carbon credits issued under the Gold Standard.
These credits have and will support a project which has brought social and environmental benefits to communities in Kenya through the LifeStraw® Carbon for Water project.
Carbon Neutral Certification2014-15 Report 2015-16 Report
Energy efficiency and CO2eKnauf works to improve energy efficiency by significant upgrades to plant and equipment, consideration of alternative energy sources as well as by changing work practices and the education of employees. Knauf has implemented a number of projects to take action in this area, including:
- Recovering waste heat from the plastermill back into the production process, improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions
- Heat recovery systems used to save up to 8% of overall natural gas consumption in the dryer.
Water plays an important role in the manufacture of plasterboard. As water scarcity becomes more apparent, we aim to use water as efficiently as possible. We measure, review and report on water consumption at our manufacturing plants, with the objective of making continual improvements in production efficiencies to conserve water resources. Through our participation in the Sydney Water’s “Every Drop Counts” program, we reduced our annual water consumption by 6%, or 14,500 litres per day.
Stormwater is harvested for use in our manufacturing processes. Whenever there is rain water in the collection system, the demand of town water required in our plants can be halved in Matraville and removed from Altona. Knauf has participated in water reporting programs for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Victorian EPA via the EREP (Energy Resource Efficiency Plan) program.
Management of waste and emissions
Waste management occurs throughout the plasterboard life cycle – during the production processes, on a job site and at the end of life of the plasterboard. Plasterboard is 100% recyclable at all of these stages. Knauf is committed to an ongoing process of minimising waste to landfill. We recycle waste gypsum back into the production process. Waste plasterboard may also be re-used as soil conditioner for land rehabilitation and to make gluts for storage and transport of plasterboard.
Knauf measures and reports on individual waste streams in the production process, including other emissions such as noise and dust. To ensure our operations are safe for employees and stakeholders and to comply with legislation, regular testing is conducted for occupational exposure such as for dust and noise.
Air monitoring: Matraville Plant, NSW
Air monitoring is no longer an environmental protection licence condition for Matraville Plant. The EPA has carefully reviewed the dust deposition monitoring being conducted, the position of the monitor and the results; and concluded that the monitoring requirement could be removed from the licence as other licence conditions regulate dust management.
Previous monitoring reports may be viewed on the Reports page.
External notification and communication
To give feedback or make a complaint regarding the environment for our sites: Matraville environmental hotline 02 9311 6905
All other sites, contact us on 1300 724 505 and ask to speak to the manager for that site. Alternatively, you may use the Contact Us form on our website to email us your inquiry or email us at environment.NSW@knaufplasterboard.com.auExternal Notification And Communication