Green Jobs at the launch of '14Trees’ initiative
The Zambia Green Jobs Programme took part in the first introduction of an innovative joint venture to bring low-carbon, affordable housing materials to developing countries.
The Zambia Green Jobs Programme (ZGJP) attended in Zurich, Switzerland the launch of 14Trees, dedicated to address the growing demand for affordable housing for some of the nearly 3 billion people around the world living in earth-based houses. The ZGJP, has been a partner in sustainable construction with LafargeHolcim Zambia and has built several demonstration units to promote the use of alternative technologies and employment and skills development of local contractors. It is through the success of such local partnerships that the decision by the LafargeHolcim Group was taken to look for ways to scale up such projects and joined forces with CDC Group plc, to set up the company 14Trees.
The joint venture is tasked with expanding the production and promotion of Durabric, an environmentally-friendly, affordable alternative to traditional clay burnt bricks which will be initially rolled out in Malawi. This alternative technology was also applied in sustainable construction projects in Zambia under the ZGJP. The bricks are produced from a mixture of earth and cement, compressed in a mould, and left naturally to cure without firing, in the process saving up to 14 trees per house. By avoiding this firing phase, Durabric reduces greenhouse gas emissions tenfold compared to traditional fired bricks.
According to a joint press release, many African countries face the effects of climate change as a result of widespread deforestation that is driven by the demand for wood used in the production of clay burnt bricks. An expanding construction sector boosted by population growth and urbanisation also puts pressure on resources and increasingly fragile ecosystems.
Already used in Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia, 14Trees will enable Durabric to be commercialized in other countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 3 million of these bricks have already been produced in Malawi since 2013, and have been used in around 500 buildings. A new Durabric production plant is being built in Malawi and will open in the third quarter of 2016.