THE Swiss ambassador and consul general visited Langkloof Bricks on the outskirts of Jeffreys Bay last Friday.
Welcoming ambassador Christian Meuwly, consul-general Irene Flueckiger and other dignitaries to the plant, Langkloof managing director, Nico Blake said it was a privilege to showcase their achievements to the guests.
The visitors came to observe the first energy-efficient vertical shaft brick kiln (VSKB) factory and construction site in South Africa, currently in production at the Langkloof Brick Plant.
The project, run under the auspices of the SA-VSBK, was installed last year and was given an official stamp of approval by Meuwly and Flueckiger following their visit.
The SA-VSBK project forms part of the Swiss government’s climate change mitigation programme which aims to introduce the energy efficient brick-firing technology to South Africa, as part of a commitment to reduce carbon emissions.
“The SA-VSBK project is the Swiss government’s first successful technology transfer programme into SA and we are very pleased with the results,” said Meuwly.
Blake said: “It is almost a year since we made history with our ground-breaking technologically advanced SA-VSBK brick firing kilns.
“We have set the benchmark for green building by producing quality clay brick products with the lowest embodied energy to date.
“Since the launch of our new production facility last year, the VSBK has exceeded all of our expectations.”
Jez Rowe, managing director of Rowe Construction, the company that played a huge part in the re-design and construction of the shafts at Langkloof Bricks, also took the opportunity to announce that the next generation of VSBK designs that offer lower construction time and lower the cost of ownership by as much as 30% are now complete.
“This has resulted in the new SA-VSBK shafts at Langkloof to exceed expectations at every turn,” said Rowe.
The visit , which also included a site visit to Cape St Francis, was attended by representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Ceta, and ended with a lunch at the new Brick Centre at the Fountains Estate.