Meet the sustainability leader: Energy Efficiency – Ibstock Brick

With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Energy Efficiency Award, Ibstock Brick.

Meet the sustainability leader: Energy Efficiency – Ibstock Brick

(L-R) Presenter Joanne Wade OBE

With 20 manufacturing plants across the UK, Ibstock Brick, part of Ibstock plc, has the largest brick production capacity in the UK. At the heart of the firm’s energy strategy is its people-focused approach – it recognises that every single employee can affect the energy consumed, no matter how small or significant a user they are. This behavioural change programme has delivered very positive results across the business.

Ibstock Brick’s energy efficiency strategy is led by quality, energy and environment manager Michael McGowan and his team, but it is people throughout the business who identify the potentials for improvement and have the desire to make a difference. By engaging and involving people across all functions, Ibstock works as a single team, drawing on both vast experience and fresh ideas from newer employees.

 The implementation of two milestone ISO standards gives an example of how the company has worked to improve energy efficiency. In 2001, Ibstock was the first UK manufacturer to achieve ISO 14001 certification at all of its sites. More recently, the firm has been a keen advocate of ISO 50001:2011. Consequently, all of its sites have ISO 50001:2011 certification and Ibstock were the first UK brick manufacturer to achieve this degree of across-the-board implementation.

Ibstock’s approach to achieving ISO 50001 was quite different. First, the firm created an ‘Energy Centre of Excellence’ at one of its factories. This allowed the company to develop its strategy, pilot key initiatives and set objectives and targets for the whole business. Ibstock then identified people as energy users, as opposed to machinery and processes. The company implemented a two-year training plan tailored into two classifications: Significant Energy Users and All Energy Users, focusing on what individuals can do to save energy.

The benefits of these changes have been substantial with significant reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In addition, employees have benefited both at home and at work by becoming more aware of ways to improve energy usage.

Ibstock’s new manufacturing facility, located in Leicestershire, marks a decisive step forward in terms of energy efficiency, representing the culmination of its achievements in energy efficiency. The objective was to raise the bar for Ibstock’s utilisation and management of energy and the result is the UK’s most efficient brickworks, in which every area has been fine-tuned to ensure optimum sustainability. This desire is evident throughout the production buildings. For example, Ibstock Brick has made extensive use of highly breathable material as cladding, which dramatically reduces the need to install additional ventilation equipment, reducing the overall energy consumption of the plant. The buildings were designed to maximise the use of natural daylight. The criteria set out in the BREEAM Industrial 2008 standard were used and in every case the Daylight Factor was significantly exceeded, leading to enhanced safety as well as significant reductions in energy consumption.

Ibstock also made a point of identifying and installing the most efficient, next-generation lighting and related controls at its Leicestershire facility. Utilising the DALI lighting control protocol, the system ensures the lighting provides the required LUX levels while being dimmed either up or down depending on the output. The result is a 50% saving when it is compared with the cost of a traditional lighting solution, saving 170,041kg CO2 per year.

Ibstock is also pioneering closed-loop energy and has 13.6MW of generation capacity from landfill gas across its sites.

But the company is not resting on its laurels. Many of the Ibstock’s current targets are geared towards achieving significant improvements by 2020 – and at present Ibstock is very much on course to achieve them. For instance, the KPI set for a 5% reduction by 2020 of CO2 per tonne of bricks set remains on target based on baseline year (and at the end of 2017 Ibstock was around 5% below the baseline target).

“Bringing people along on our journey – that’s everyone in the business – and using a tool like ISO 15001 has just worked a treat for us,” Ibstock’s McGowan told edie. 

What the judges said: “Ibstock received praise from the judges for its recognition that all of its people are essential change-makers when it comes to delivering sustained improvements in energy efficiency.  The great results the company has seen over the past year are a testament to that.”

edie’s 2020 Sustainability Leaders Awards

Now entering their 13th year for 2020, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are sure to be one of the biggest nights of the year in the sustainability and energy space, with some exciting new categories added to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business.   

The 2020 Sustainability Leaders are now OPEN for entries. The entry deadline is Friday 27 September 2019. The Awards will then take place on the night of 5 February 2020 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster. 


edie Staff

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