3 min read

The Quickest Way to Introduce Sustainability

Our mission at Envirocon is to help the construction sector be part of thecircular economy. As a New Zealand-owned and operated company, we convert high quality surplus wet concrete - that would otherwise go to landfill - into large interlocking mass concrete blocks. These blocks form durable and cost-effective retaining wall systems which can be dismantled and rebuilt again and again. And why is this important to share? Because it illustrates the concept of practical sustainability in action - it’s how we apply it to the real world. Through clever design, our blocks allow construction engineers and end customers to:

  • Reduce labour costs through faster installation of retaining structures and bunds
  • Achieve safety and structural integrity through strength and durability using traditional engineering principles
  • Maximise resource efficiency by having the flexibility to modify the structure as end-users’ needs change

We’re proud that our sustainable concrete products and systems deliver cost and time benefits to the whole construction industry. And we’re hoping our model helps other organisations to uncover ways they can incorporate sustainable and eco-friendly practices into their supply chain.

Practical sustainability in construction

There are two parts to the Envirocon model, these are:
  1. Establishing New Zealand’s only construction-relatedproduct stewardship scheme. Formal and informal membership of the scheme represents an estimated 80% of the ready mix concrete manufactured nationally. This means Envirocon member customers gain the benefits of a more sustainable approach, without having to do anything more than purchasing concrete blocks from us.
Our interlocking blocks help members by:
  • Reducing carbon production by diverting waste from landfill
  • Reducing costs from non-disposal to landfill
  • Reducing water consumption from water-based concrete recycling
  • Reducing their carbon footprint by not crushing concrete in order to recycle it
  1. When a structure is built with Envirocon interlocking blocks, it can easily be dismantled at the end of its useful life. The blocks can then be reused over and over again. We even offer a buy-back scheme if you can’t find another use for them.
Why your customer will love it The model detailed above makes it easy for design engineers and specifiers to offer their clients a unique combination of benefits, such as:
  • A lower total cost of ownership
  • A guaranteed improvement in sustainability
  • Non-destructive dismantling at end of life
  • Strong, durable structures
  • Fully engineered systems

These aspects prove that a focus on sustainability does not only achieve a seal of approval from the environment, but that the flow-on effect can be a win-win for all of those involved in the construction process.

Envirocon and Auckland’s City Rail Link

For an example of how this approach can work in practice, look no further than Auckland’s CRL Project. The CRL (City Rail Link) project’s design and construction meets the highest sustainability standards. The team set out to complete New Zealand’s largest transport project while minimising resource use and waste. With no New Zealand standard for infrastructure sustainability, the team adopted and added to the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) framework. During the design phase, reductions in the use of energy, water and materials were constantly sought. Significant improvements continued to be made from the initial concept designs to final detailed design. Work to minimise emissions, pollution and waste began from the early design stages. The reality was closely monitored throughout construction. Clearly a perfect fit with the project’s sustainability goals, Envirocon was selected as a supplier because:

  • The CRL project was able to divert waste concrete from landfill by purchasing ready mix concrete from the Envirocon product stewardship scheme’s partners
  • The excess concrete was upcycled into interlocking blocks that were used and reused across all sites to construct temporary retaining walls, hoardings and more
  • Envirocon was able to provide the project with relevant sustainability reporting
With a focus on greatersustainability practices in construction, there’s no doubt those stepping out in front may have some trepidation for ‘leading the charge’ so to speak. But by making those changes for the better, more businesses in the industry could open doors to opportunities they might not have had before. Get in touch with Envirocon to find out more.

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