Climate change and energy efficiency: Building a better future with cleaner bricks
Clay brick production in South Africa produces large emissions of greenhouse gases due to the use of old, energy-inefficient clamp firing systems. The use of vertical-shaft brick kilns (VSBK) considerably reduces coal consumption and cuts CO2 emissions by half.
These brick ovens, which originated in China, were modified and improved with support from the SDC in India and Nepal. Today the kilns are part of the programme for energy-efficient construction in South Africa, which is being jointly implemented by Swisscontact and Skat with the involvement of experts from India and Nepal. The plan is to build 100 kilns which will produce more than 180 million bricks a year. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 84,000 tonnes a year.
But the VSBK project offers social advantages as well as economic and ecological benefits: Compared to conventional kilns, the VSBK emits virtually no gases, thus benefitting workers' health. Moreover, special training is required to operate these kilns, allowing employees to improve their qualifications for the job market.