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& S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

APL & Sustainability

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Contents

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Overview and Current Initiative

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Aluminium & Sustainability

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The APL Supply Chain

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Key Facts

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Rio Tinto

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New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited

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INEX Ltd

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Colour Works

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Finex (Anodising Process)

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APL (Architectural Profiles Ltd)

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APL DIRECT

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Energy Efficiency And Product Development

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Sustainability Initiative: Revegetation Project

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APL & Sustainability


A P L & S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

APL & Sustainability Overview and Current Initiative

Introduction APL is the biggest aluminium window systems supply company in New Zealand. Its brands of exterior joinery (including Altherm, First, and Vantage) are prominent in the New Zealand construction industry and are manufactured throughout the country by a network of independent manufacturers. As a market leader, APL recognises the importance of seeking to achieve best practice status on a range of environmental management issues. The quest for excellence in practices that affect economic and environmental sustainability is a journey rather than a destination and the company recognises that green initiatives will be part of its strategy over the long term.

About this report This overview paper is intended as an initial description of the environmental context in which APL operates – including reference to early stages of the product life cycle – as well as a description of current initiatives underway at APL and within its raw material suppliers and contractors.

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Aluminium & Sustainability Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. It is derived commercially from bauxite, a naturally occurring mineral which is estimated to have mineable global reserves measured in the hundreds of years. The smelting of aluminium and the extruding of aluminium profiles require large amounts of electricity for electrolytic and heating purposes. This requirement gives aluminium windows a high embodied energy. Offset against this is the favourable comparison between aluminium and alternative window materials for both recyclability and durability. Studies have indicated that aluminium windows typically last over 40 years, which is in excess of many alternative systems. Aluminium is notable for its ability to be recycled indefinitely owing to its high intrinsic value and the widespread industrial infrastructure devoted to remelt and repurification of the metal. Recycled aluminium accounts for one third of global consumption worldwide, but there is considerable scope for the recycle content of global production to be increased .

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Aluminium alloys have unique properties of strength, light weight, ductility and corrosion-resistance

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Because of the balance that needs to be achieved between energy conservation and the ideal allocation of energy-rich materials to appropriate end uses aluminium is best used in applications where its unique properties are indispensable

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The aluminium window and door industry maintains that its use in this sector is important and well justified. Aluminium windows have attributes of span, scale, strength, functionality and aesthetic capability that alternative materials have difficulty matching

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Modern architectural trends and practices would be significantly impacted if exterior aluminium joinery was unavailable

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Provided that maximum levels of recycle of scrap or demolition aluminium are achieved and other measures of environmental mitigation are implemented at all points in the production process, APL believes that aluminium windows and doors offer an acceptable solution from the viewpoint of sustainability.

APL & Sustainability

The APL Supply Chain All the aluminium billet used by APL extrusion company, INEX, is sourced from New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited (NZAS), at Tiwai Point, near Bluff. NZAS is a joint venture operation owned by Rio Tinto Alcan (New Zealand) (79.36%) and Sumitomo Chemical Company (Japan) (20.64%). Rio Tinto Alcan (New Zealand) is the managing partner at NZAS and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto.


A P L & S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

KEY FACTS

581 1

34,000

full time employees in APL Group Operations

tonnes of aluminium profiles sold in 2011-2016 period

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and only extruder of aluminium in Australasia that recycles its scrap directly with a smelter

100%

leading brands of windows and doors sold throughout New Zealand

88%

APL aluminium billet obtained from a smelter using a renewable resource hydro power

of APL distribution fleet trucks are Euro 3 and 5 compliant for exhaust emissions.

99.9%

of aluminium scrap in APL’s window and door network is recycled

1,150 people in APL’s window and door manufacturer network

of packing case bases sent to the manufacturer network are recycled back through APL

8x6

The height and width in metres of APL’s window facade testing facility for commercial projects

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surface-finishing lines powder coat or anodise extrusions

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Rio Tinto Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group with its headquarters in London, and operates in over 50 countries. In addition to managing the smelter at Tiwai Point, Rio Tinto owns the Weipa bauxite mine, in Queensland, that supplies the bauxite feedstock for the smelter. The Weipa bauxite is refined into alumina in Gladstone, at the Queensland Alumina refinery (80% Rio Tinto Alcan) and is then shipped to NZAS for smelting, the third step of the aluminium production process. Rio Tinto operations are inherently energy intensive and emissive, releasing gases and particulate into the atmosphere. The company has committed to driving continuous improvement in regards to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and improved energy efficiency across all its sites, including its Australasian assets. In Australia and New Zealand the company has adopted a portfolio approach to address the greenhouse issue.

This strategy includes: ■■

A focus on operational excellence

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Engagement in the policy debate, which mainly focuses on the emissions trading scheme design in both countries

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Involvement in the development of new, more efficient smelter technology and low emission electricity generation technologies

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The investigation of offsets

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Life cycle analysis of aluminium products.

-18% Overall reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2008 and 2015 has been 18%, exceeding the company target of 10%

Rio Tinto’s emissions of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen in 2014 decreased by 7.6% and 4.4% respectively, mainly due to divestments, and curtailment or reduction of operations at specific sites. Particulate emissions were also down 8.5%. According to company reports, overall reduction in GHG emissions between 2008 and 2015 has been 18%, exceeding the company target of 10%. The majority of GHG emissions occur from energy use and chemical processes during mining, milling and smelting. The greater part of the electricity the company uses (65%) is from hydro power. 6

APL & Sustainability


A P L & S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited (NZAS) The NZAS smelter at Tiwai Point is one of the world’s largest, and has 672 smelting or reduction cells or pots. NZAS has around 670 full-time equivalent employees and 130 contractors. The smelter contributes $525 million to Southland’s GDP, which equates to 10.5%. Most of the aluminium produced at the smelter is exported to Japan, Europe, other Asian countries and North America. Only 8% is sold locally in New Zealand. Key facts relating to environmental performance and initiatives at NZAS include the following:

½ Over the past 25 years NZAS has halved its annual greenhouse gas emissions

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Almost all the electricity NZAS smelter uses is obtained from a renewable resource – hydro electricity

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In 2014, NZAS received the top rating in all four categories of the Environment Southland Compliance Monitoring Report. Categories cover provision of data/ results, compliance with consent conditions, responsiveness to issues, and keeping Environment Southland informed of intentions or changes

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Over the past 25 years NZAS has halved its annual greenhouse gas emissions, investing nearly $10 million of capital for energy efficiency in 2006 alone

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In 2008 NZAS was runner up at the International Quality and Productivity Centre (IQPC) awards for the six sigma work on reducing carbon consumption. Carbon consumption is NZAS’s largest contributor to GHG and this project reduced GHG emissions by around 14,000 tonnes per year

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In 2007 NZAS won the Corporate Social Responsibility category of the Australasian Business Excellence (ABE) Awards, recognising its performance in pursuing sustainable development

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In 2007 NZAS won the Supreme Award at the IQPC Awards for the six sigma work which halved the PFC greenhouse gas emissions at the smelter

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Other environmental mitigation projects implemented include landfill reduction initiatives, reject timber mulching, adoption of reusable packaging in export shipments, recycling of extrusion scrap and domestic packaging in NZ, staff participation in stoat trapping on the Peninsula, and continued participation in – and sponsorship of – the Kakapo Recovery Programme in a partnership with the Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird. APL & Sustainability

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INEX INEX purchases all its aluminium from NZAS for all its extrusions. It is the exclusive supplier to APL for the profiles that are used to make windows and doors for the Altherm, First and Vantage brands. INEX has two extrusion presses at its plant in Hamilton, and is the largest extruder in New Zealand.

Key facts relating to environmental performance and initiatives at INEX include the following:

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INEX is the only extrusion plant in Australasia to recycle its scrap directly with an aluminium smelter, in this case NZAS. The net effect of recycling in this manner through billet preparation furnaces rather than through a ‘remelt’ plant is that there is a dramatic reduction in the energy input for the recycled content (as it acts as an efficient coolant in the hot metal that is cooled before casting)

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Because INEX recycles its scrap through its billet supplier it is, in effect, using virgin billet that may have a significant INEX recycled metal content.

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In the 10 year period to 2016 total investment of approximately $6m was made to increase efficiencies and reduce energy consumption (and emissions) across a range of new technologies – extrusion press enhancements, an extrusion cooling chamber, metal ageing innovations, soft-start electric motors, an aluminium baler/recycler, an extruder quench hood and automation of a packaging line. A further investment of nearly $2m is planned for 2017 to increase the energy efficiency of the ageing oven.

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Continued annual investment in new technology and efficiency improvements of more than half a million dollars

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INEX conducts regular energy audits to ensure full utilisation of power and gas. Having induction billet heating on all presses, as opposed to gas heating, eliminates carbon dioxide emissions.

APL & Sustainability


A P L & S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

Colour Works Colour Works is an associated company of APL that powder coats aluminium extrusions for supply to the APL manufacturer network in New Zealand and the Pacific. Powder coating is a method of coating products with a powdered resin which is applied to the aluminium profile. Electrically charged powder is sprayed on to extrusions which then pass into an oven to gel the powder and cure it. The result is a uniform, high quality durable finish. Prior to this process the aluminium profiles go through a preparation phase comprising the following: immersion in a pre-cleaning tank containing detergent, rinsing, immersion in acid etch solution (a dilute mixture of sulphuric acid and hydrofluoric acid), rinsing, then immersion in a chromate solution (a dilute mixture of acids with chromic acid being the main ingredient), followed by rinsing in demineralised water and drying. In April 2016 Colour Works achieved a major reduction in environmental footprint by installing a vertical powder coating plant, using a chromium-free pre-treatment process. This more benign process greatly simplifies on-site effluent treatment and disposal. The throughput for the vertical powder coater accounts for approximately 70% of our powder coating. The installation of this new technology is believed to be a first for the New Zealand window industry.

Key facts relating to environmental performance and initiatives at Colour Works include: ■■

Colour Works’ main powder coating line, the new vertical powder coater, has a chromium-free pretreatment regime for a more benign environmental impact.

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In Colour Works main horizontal powder coating line, overflow from the pre-treatment tank using chromium 6 is treated with a reducing agent prior to waste disposal. This reducing process converts the compound to chromium 3, which is dramatically less toxic than the hexavalent version. (chromium 3 is an essential nutrient in the diet of humans and animals in small amounts, but is toxic at high levels)

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Chromium in the waste stream is settled out by flocculation, gathered as a sediment and is then compacted through a filter press before being disposed at a landfill as a dry cake. The chromate tank is emptied annually by a trade waste contractor and the contents are treated before disposal

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The pre-cleaning tank is emptied for maintenance purposes once a year and the contents are neutralised prior to discharge to trade waste

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Acid etch tank discharge and acidic rinse water are neutralised with a caustic solution to meet trade waste requirements

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Rinse tank flows are counter-cycled to reuse clean water and reduce water consumption

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A significant proportion of the waste powder in the spray booths is sucked back into a collection system and recycled through the application process. Waste powder that cannot be recycled is returned to Colour Works supplier, Dulux Powder Coating, where most of it is exported overseas for coating of non-critical products

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Dulux Powder Coating has obtained Enviro-Mark Gold certification, an internationally recognised environmental management system. Its powders are manufactured free of volatile organic compounds (VOC), triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC), PVC or PVC derivatives, formaldehyde, lead and cadmium.

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Finex Finex is APL’s on-site anodising plant, which was built in 2004. It is New Zealand’s most modern anodiser and, as such, was designed with the latest effluent treatment technology. An extensive underground storage and treatment system was included in the plant’s construction and is unique in New Zealand for the comprehensive and integrated design approach that was taken. In addition, failsafe bunding was incorporated to ensure the containment of any accidental chemical spills. The anodising process itself is a complex, multistage operation that typically involves an aluminium extrusion in 15 separate tank immersions in order to achieve the lustrous anodised surface finish that is so popular in the building industry. The process requires the aluminium to be cleaned and etched before being subject to electrolysis to create an enhanced protective oxide coating. Colouring may then be carried out (except for a natural anodised finish), and then sealing takes place. The contents of the 17 process tanks include a detergent, rinse water, demineralised rinse water, a caustic solution, and other dilute solutions including nitric acid and ferrous sulphates, sulphuric acid, a sulphuric acid and stannous sulphate mix, as well as nickel acetate. Some tanks are heated.

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APL & Sustainability

Key facts relating to environmental performance and initiatives at Finex include the following: ■■

Natural heat generated by the caustic tank is transferred to assist heating of other process tanks. All other heating is by a natural gas burner which heats closed-circuit oil lines

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Rinse tank flows are counter-cycled to reuse clean water and reduce water consumption

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Waste rinse water, waste acid and caustic solutions have metals and solids removed by flocculation

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This precipitate is gathered as a sediment and is then compacted through a filter press before being disposed at a landfill as a dry cake

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Waste water streams are neutralised before discharge to the trade waste system

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Effluent discharges are to standards applied by the local authority and are sampled and monitored on a regular basis.


A P L & S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

APL Within our Hamilton business operation a number of environmental initiatives are in place or planning: ■■

Packing case wooden bases for aluminium extrusions delivered to the APL network of manufacturers nationwide by APL distribution trucks (APL Direct) are currently recycled back from the manufacturer to APL for re-use

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Packing case outers, which are made from cardboard, were changed to cardboard made from recycled paper in 2006. Most APL manufacturers recycle these outers to recycle bins on their premises

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Other packing case components – polystyrene packers, shrink wrapping and interleaving plastic – are currently single-use but APL are continually undertaking studies to improve sustainability for these items

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All waste cardboard cartons and packaging are sent to a recycler

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Our Christchurch warehouse recycle or reuse all packaging materials – polystyrene packers, wooden cleats, cardboard and steel strapping.

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Energy efficient LED lighting has been fitted throughout many parts of the business operation

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APL’s new 5,000 square metre Centre of Innovation, completed in 2015, features a sophisticated, energy efficient, double-skin façade. Ventilation to the façade cavity is air conditioned naturally by underground earth tubes – a technology that evens out air temperature extremes – and the air is shared with adjoining offices. A computerised BMS system operates key aspects of climate control and vent activation.

Identified damaged or reject aluminium extrusions are recycled back through a remelt contractor.

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APL DIRECT APL Direct is APL’s distribution subsidiary. It has 17 delivery trucks, most of which have Euro 5-compliant engines conforming to the strictest standards applicable in the European Union in regard to diesel emissions of nitrogen oxides and soot. APL Direct operates from a new logistics centre to service its nationwide customer base. The new logistics arrangement includes several ‘green’ initiatives, as outlined below.

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APL Direct are believed to have achieved the highest fleet proportion in New Zealand of Euro 5 trucks at an early stage after the emission standard came into force in late 2009. Of the 17 trucks currently in the fleet, 13 have Euro 5 engines and two have Euro 3 engines. Euro 5 trucks are also more fuel efficient

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The APL Direct service plan has cut past servicing requirements by half through the use of fully synthetic engine oil. The reduction in oil changes has resulted in a halving of oil disposal and recycling requirements

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The APL Direct logistics centre includes a rainwater collection system from the roof which supplies the truck wash station and toilets

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The centre has a repair and recycling unit to ensure that empty freight bases returned from manufacturers are made ready for reuse

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The APL Direct tyre plan utilises virgin case tyres which can be recapped and placed on tag axles of the truck fleet, thus doubling the life of company tyre cases.

APL & Sustainability

APL Direct are believed to have the highest fleet proportion in New Zealand of Euro 5 trucks.


A P L & S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

Energy Efficiency & Product Development To cater for the greater emphasis on energy efficiency in homes, APL has launched three ranges of thermally efficient windows and doors.

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The Klima Series of windows & doors is a uPVC window system rated to the maximum 6 energy stars under WEERS (Window Energy Efficiency Rating System) when used with Low-E double glazing. It is based on the Kommerling 76mm Series, a European market leader, but designed for New Zealand conditions and building practices. Klima products are made from a highly durable ‘hot country’ uPVC, an environmentally-friendly lead-free formulation

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Two ranges of thermally broken aluminium windows and doors are available, as well as a thermally broken roof window in both opening and fixed format. The Metro ThermalHEART and Residential ThermalHEART ranges are offered through Altherm, First and Vantage window manufacturers nationwide.

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All ThermalHEART products have a nylon insulator incorporated in every aluminium profile which provides a highly effective barrier for minimising the transmission of cold and the development of condensation. ThermalHEART ranges offer up to 35% more thermal efficiency than standard double glazed windows and doors.

Klima products are made from a highly durable ‘hot country’ uPVC, an environmentallyfriendly lead-free formulation

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Sustainability Initiative: Re-vegetation Project With environmental sustainability at the forefront of APL’s values and a desire to balance out our own industrial activities, a major re-vegetation project was commenced in 2011. The project was undertaken on a rural property south of Cambridge now known as Takapoto. This environmentally focused project was and continues to be a successful and rewarding carbon offset initiative. This is how the project has unfolded to date: More than 500,000 tussocks, native and non-native reforestation plants have been planted in permanent parkland. The extensive list comprises over 40 different species. Amongst that list are commonly known species like the Kauri, Titoki, Black Mamaku fern, Silver fern, Cabbage tree, Nikau, Kowhai, Rimu, Puka, Puriri, Manuka, Pohutukawa, Totara, Kanuka, Pigeon-wood and Kawakawa. The project is recognised as one of the largest native forest planting initiatives in the country. With native species comes an abundance of bird life, and as a result the project has been aligned with nearby Maungatautari and the Maungatautari Sanctuary Project (MSP). MSP is an ambitious, educational and environmentally focused initiative run by a local trust to protect the birds of Maungatautari Mountain. Maungatautari has since seen the construction of a 47km anti-predator fence and the Maungatautari birds, a wonderful touch down point on the Takapoto property, which sits perfectly on their migration flight path. Conservationists highly regard the APL revegetation programme. It is considered hugely beneficial for the birds of Maungatautari Mountain whose temperate rain forest is not as prolific as a food source because of its maturity. Takapoto however has a vast pantry that is either in flower or berry, providing food and shelter for the birds all year round. In conjunction with the planting programme, a significant area of land has been retired from farming in order to remove stock from lower lying paddocks to protect the waterways from stock effluent. The next transition was to bees. The Takapoto bees, although mostly dormant during winter, are comfortably sustained all year round. The honey they produce is reflective of their succulent food source. Those who live on the property explain with a smile that in a few short years they are awoken to a dawn chorus of Tui from what used to be gentle, distant bird-song. Water ways and ponds are teeming with frogs and insects, where there used to be none and the hum of bees during the summer months is welcomed with open arms. An exceptional piece of land to have made our mark. 14

APL & Sustainability


A P L & S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

APL, 19 Northpark Dr, Hamilton 3200

P 07 849 2113

W aplnz.co.nz

facebook.com/APLNZ

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