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 to become one of the first building supply companies in New Zealand to be certified carboNZero by Toitū.
Centered around creating a positive change for the environment, 18 months ago Nuralite started their carbon zero journey in an aim to decrease CO2 emissions throughout the company and within their supply chain.
The bulk of Nuralite's annual carbon dioxide emissions of around 1,000 tonnes was from international freight — sea and air — and transport within New Zealand. One of their 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% by March 2021.
The second major initiative to reduce emissions was to replace the firm’s fleet of petrol and diesel-powered cars with 100% battery electric vehicles. This is expected to reduce company vehicle emissions by 80% by March 2021.
A third area of savings is from international air freight. A 50% 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.
As well as addressing their carbon production, Nuralite understand the need to promote smarter design. For over 12 years they have been supplying warm roof systems on both commercial and residential projects across NZ. Over the course of their sustainability journey they have seen the benefits of continuous insulation and feel that the right insulation provides significantly higher energy and cost savings in the long term.
Nuralite made changes to lower its carbon footprint. But they had a bigger goal in mind as well — to encourage and inspire others in the architecture and construction industry to do the same.
As a company, Nuralite have been transparent about their move to be carbon neutral (nuralite.co.nz/sustainability) and are showing others that the journey is a positive one. Nuralite is leading a change in the actions of product suppliers and is pushing for changes in how buildings are built through its webinars for architects and specifiers.
“Construction generally has a huge carbon footprint which needs addressing immediately. Being carbon-zero provides us with the right to question others what they are doing? We have the license to push for changes in how our products are used and agitate for change within the construction industry,” says John Simmons, Managing Director.
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 online chat and in person. And underpinning it all, Nuralite is making positive impacts on the environment.
It is important to work through the supply chain and encourage suppliers to reduce their emissions. Nuralite also want to focus on their product offerings of roof and wall insulation systems that result in superior, energy-efficient buildings and homes.
“We are committed to helping New Zealand build better," John says. "Energy-efficient buildings should be New Zealand’s goal and with our warm roof system this is totally possible.”