Reducing carbon emissions, one tonne at a time

By Nuralite Waterproofing managing director John Simmons.

A realisation that all businesses, no matter how big or small, have to start making changes to reduce carbon emissions was behind the decision of Nuralite Waterproofing to become one of the first building supply companies in New Zealand to be certified carboNZero by Toitū.

Nuralite is a typical New Zealand small medium enterprise (SME) – it employs 20 people, operates from two sites, and imports the bulk of the products it markets from manufacturers in Europe and North America.

Managing director John Simmons wanted to ensure his business played its part in reducing New Zealand’s carbon emissions, even though as an importer and distributor, the company’s carbon footprint was relatively small.

“The changes we have made to our business may be negligible when put against the country’s total emissions, but I believe all businesses need to step up and show leadership in carbon reduction – not just the big corporates and emitters,” he says.

The bulk of Nuralite’s annual carbon dioxide emissions of around 1,000 tonnes were from international freight – sea and air – and transport within New Zealand.

One of Nuralite’s products – Enertherm, an insulation panel for walls and roofs – is a high volume but low weight product imported from Europe.

To reduce the emissions associated with moving Enertherm and other roofing products such as the heavy Nuraply membrane system around New Zealand, Nuralite invested in a new warehouse located in Christchurch and landed products directly from offshore manufacturers at Port Lyttelton. This is expected to reduce freight emissions by 15 percent by March 2021.

A second major initiative to reduce emissions was to replace the firm’s fleet of petrol and diesel-powered cars with 100 percent battery electric vehicles. This is expected to reduce company vehicle emissions by 80 percent by March 2021.

A third area of savings is from international air freight. A 50 percent reduction is expected by importing larger volumes of an Italian-made deck support product by ship and holding them in the warehouses for longer rather than running low and resorting to air freight to meet customer demand.

John says he is proud to be a leader in the building supply industry and show by example that small business can play a role in the country’s goal to meet the Paris Agreement target of a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030.

“We aim to show that carboNZero certification isn’t just a fad – it’s a valuable way of looking at your business and seeing where savings can be made and showing our clients we are serious about climate change,” he says.

Nuralite has a three-pillared strategy to support its purpose of Flat Roofs, Built Right.

It focuses on durable flat roof solutions.

It offers high quality technical support by phone, live on-line chat and in person.

And underpinning it all, Nuralite is making positive impacts on the environment.

It is working through its supply chain to encourage its suppliers to reduce their emissions and is focusing its product offering on roof and wall insulation systems that result in superior, energy-efficient buildings and homes.

“We are committed to helping New Zealand build better. One hundred percent zero energy buildings should be New Zealand’s goal and with our warm roof system this is totally possible,” John says.

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