Belgotex Floors announced today that it has been awarded 6 stars in South Africa’s first custom Green Star SA – Existing Building Performance (EBP) rating for an industrial facility from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).
The outstanding 6 Star certification recognises “World Leadership” at its Pietermaritzburg-based factory for its sustainability practices in all aspects of their plant and carpet manufacturing operations.
The Green Star SA -Existing Building Performance (EBP) rating tool is the foremost programme focusing on whole building operational performance over 12 months measured against eight key criteria for human and environmental health. For the first time ever, this EBP tool was customised to cater for the certification of an industrial facility in order to evaluate Belgotex’s factory. It was adapted by expert green building consultants Ecocentric, who together with the company’s comprehensive historic operational data and dedicated on- site sustainability team accelerated the process and enabled the company to achieve their certification in just 8 months.
Belgotex Floors achieved the 6 Green Star SA certification for implementing outstanding practical and measurable strategic solutions in the following areas:
- Management: Building management, green cleaning performance, on-going monitoring and metering and learning resources;
- Indoor Environment Quality: Indoor air quality, lighting comfort, thermal comfort, occupant survey, acoustic comfort and daylight views;
- Energy: Energy consumption, peak electricity demand;
- Water: Potable water management;
- Transport: Alternative transportation;
- Materials: Procurement and purchasing, solid waste management;
- Land Use and Ecology: Hardscape, landscape and pest management, and
- Emissions: Refrigerants, legionella prevention and storm water
Extra credits were earned for Innovations which saw the company adopt several new eco-innovative production processes and product development strategies. Innovative raw material input strategies were implemented to reduce energy and raw material consumption, minimise waste, and allow the company to develop products with higher recycled content.
The adoption of a dry-manufacturing process and complete switch in production and product development to solution-dyed ranges resulted in 100% reduction in water consumption, as well as reductions in chemical and energy inputs. Replacing wet space-dyed processes and products with solution-dyed ranges not only reduced water consumption and chemical waste output, but also improved the stain-proof characteristics of their carpets, offering superior colourfastness and fade resistance to its customers.
Waste Reduction & Recycling
The acquisition of a R5-million recycling machine enables Belgotex to recycle waste fibre and yarn back into production, effectively reducing their waste rates from their carpet production processes to close to zero. It also offers up to 20% energy savings, resulting in lower production costs and reduced CO2 emissions.
The raw materials for several eco-products are derived from post-industrial and post-consumer waste, such as Green underlay and the new EOSBac backing system, as well as various carpet ranges. Their bestselling Berber Point 920 commercial carpet and other needlepunch carpet products are made with a blend of polypropylene and recycled Eco Fibre or Eco Yarn. This Eco-fibre is manufactured using post production waste, which is re-pelletized (utilising the cutting edge Erema recycling machinery). The input of this recycled content in their production process considerably lowers the embodied energy associated with virgin raw material use.
Numerous energy optimisation initiatives were implemented to reduce non-renewable energy consumption. These include the installation of a R17-million photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant, energy-efficient LED lights and automatic motion sensors and extensive plant upgrades to more energy-efficient equipment.
Belgotex also operate an extensive education and training programme that seeks to identify and develop talent, especially women, in the production and management of its products.
“Our main goal is to operate a sustainable factory wherever economically and environmentally feasible,” explains Kevin Walsh, chief operations officer at Belgotex Floors. “For us, it makes good business sense. It improves operational efficiencies, product development and social upliftment and positions us as industry leaders.”
“GBCSA congratulates Belgotex on their 6 Star rating and on embracing green building practices, leading the way in creating more sustainable industrial facilities in the country, and for having this independently verified through the country’s leading authority on green buildings,” says Manfred Braune, chief technical officer of the GBCSA. “It is encouraging to see companies of this stature ensuring that their environmental and sustainability measures and initiatives are at the forefront of their business practices. Going forward, we look forward to seeing more green transformation in the industrial and manufacturing sector in South Africa.”