At a sparkling event in Freedom Park Pretoria, dignitaries from Switzerland and South Africa said farewell to the team from Swisscontact. It was a fitting finale for the 8-year Energy Efficient Clay Brick (EECB) Project, a Swiss-funded environmental sustainability and climate change initiative for South Africa.
The project has had a major impact on the energy-efficiency of the brick-making industry, which is heavily reliant on fossil fuels like coal. The EECB brought together the skills and experience of entrepreneurs, environmental specialists, consultants, government and brick-makers to expand local knowledge, raise awareness and build capacity with regard to low carbon technologies and best practice.
The project exceeded its objectives by successfully facilitating a 15% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the last 4 years. The EECB project has been funded by The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented in South Africa by Swisscontact.
Mrs. Helene Budliger Artieda, the Swiss Ambassador to South Africa reiterated her country’s commitment to economic cooperation that contributes to climate-friendly growth through the development of low-carbon industries.
CEO of Swisscontact Samuel Bon, reminded the industry leaders that a climate-smart economy is not only more sustainable for the environment, but reduces costs while improving business productivity, quality and competitiveness.
Objectives of the EECB Project
Representing the project team of industry experts, Juancho Hagnauer described how the EECB project motivated, educated, facilitated and financed initiatives that mitigate climate impact and improve the air quality.
Areas of intervention included:
- Working directly with brick-makers to facilitate economically-viable, locally-relevant firing and production technologies
- Creating an enabling environment through access to finance as well as positive awareness of the need for environmental policies
- Support in benchmarking the current state of the industry through the sector Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and ongoing industry South African Clay Brick Sustainability Report
- In-depth research, case studies and cost-benefit assessments for use by brick-makers on a wide range of energy-saving and low-emissions options for ongoing improvements.
The EECB project will continue its good work under the direction of the Clay Brick Association of South Africa.
“As an industry, we are committed to make good use of the wealth of research done by the EECB team to improve the energy efficiency of clay brick manufacturing processes,” confirms CBA President Musa Shangase.
“The CBA and its members continue their work into the future as we reduce our industry’s carbon footprint and emissions for the good of all South African communities.”
Thank you from the team
"The EECB Project Team would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to all of our stakeholders from within the sector for this incredible journey of the last 8 years," says EECB Project Manager John Volsteedt. "You have all walked the talk and have contributed to the outcomes of the EECB Project. Without your cooperation, efforts and inputs, we would not have been able to achieve what we have.
"It could easily be a time of sadness, as a team that has operated well together ends this journey with you and we each go our own way. Instead of being sad though, we would rather see the positives and am excited about what can still be.
"We look forward to over the coming years, even if we may not be directly involved, to be able to follow further development within the sector, in particular with regards to the implementation and demonstration of more sustainable production processes, ensuring the enduring benefits of clay brick are visible and recognised in the market place.
"On behalf of the entire EECB team: Luca, Musa Juancho, Michael, Lwandi, Bongi and Simise - it has been a hugely rewarding journey, thank you."