APL, the owners of the Altherm, First and Vantage brands, said that the company was in the process of completing a major revegetation programme on a South Waikato rural property that will see more than 320,000 native plants in the ground by the end of 2011 in permanent parkland forest. This programme has been launched to address the company’s ‘carbon footprint’ at a broader, macro level.
“We see these measures providing a degree of offset for APL’s industrial activities,” says APL managing director, Mitch Plaw, who is guiding the revegetation project. The planting programme, believed to be one of the biggest initiatives in native forest creation in the country, is being carried out on an aggregation of properties in the Mangatautari area where significant areas of land have been retired from farming in favour of native species revegetation.
“One of the incentives for the initiative is the property’s close proximity to the Maungatautari Mountain ‘ecological island,’” said Plaw, whose parents, Ian and Val Plaw, started APL (then named Vantage Aluminium Joinery) in September 1971. The Maungatautari Mountain project is an ambitious environmental, educational and tourism initiative run by a local trust which has seen the construction of 47km of anti-predator fencing.
“Already we have seen a huge increase in native bird appearances on our property,” said Mitch, “and this is a good sign of potential synergies between our plantings and the mountain habitat in the future.”
The reforestation programme is seen by conservationists as a boon for the birds of Maungatautari Mountain whose temperate rain forest is not so prolific as a food source because of its maturity.
Tussocks and 40 species of native reforestation plants have been planted on the Karapiro property as well as numerous tree species – Kauri, North Island Rata, Rimu, Rewarewa, Puriri, Pigeonwood, Totara, Miro, Nikau and Kamahi, among others. The reforestation plan envisages a total of nearly 500,000 plants in place by the end of 2013.
APL’s anniversary is also notable for another green initiative by the company, a roll-out of energy efficient window systems pitched at the mainstream residential market. Residential Thermal Heart under each of the company’s three brands has just been launched. This system incorporates a thermal break in each profile and is priced within reach of the majority market.
APL plans to incorporate the Thermal Heart technology into a range of commercial and heavy duty residential window and door systems to ensure that thermal alternatives are available across a broad selection of products.
Mitch Plaw reflected that with the company’s large and growing product offering and scores of powder coat and anodised options that the situation had changed dramatically since 1971. Back then the offering was a basic window and door set in two colours – silver and bronze anodised.