How low carbon concrete can transform Western Australia

22 February 2022

When you run a family business, your outlook extends further than the bottom line. That’s why Sean King, founder of concrete wall company, PC Walls, is leading the way in Western Australia by integrating ECOPact low carbon concrete into his ongoing success.

 

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PC Walls doesn’t mind leading the WA sector in sustainable practice.

“It’s about looking to the future,” he says. “It’s not my generation that will reap the benefits, it’s our kids and grandkids.”

PC Walls is a business built on innovation, providing concrete wall solutions to land developers and infrastructure providers, so it seized the opportunity to be the first WA company to use ECOPact, which reduces embodied carbon in concrete by 30-60 per cent. King is rapt with the results.

He first used it for OneOneFive Hamilton Hill, developed by the state’s land development authority project, DevelopmentWA, where the demolition of a high school required part of the demolished product to be reincorporated into the new project. As part of its innovative approach to waste management and sustainable development, DevelopmentWA asked PC Walls what else it could do to expand the sustainability scope of the project, so PC Walls pitched Holcim’s low carbon product, ECOPact.

“ECOPact provided us with a ready-made concrete that we could demonstrate met the requirements of our clients,” says King. His company’s noise walls already use a unique pre-cast patterned concrete system licensed from the USA, which gives clients ‘a point of difference for their developments.’

ECOPact furthers PC Walls’ points of difference and sector leadership. “We’re now seen as someone who can come up with creative ideas in a cost-effective way,” King says.

Recycled and low carbon concrete lead to a sustainable sector

He foresees ECOPact complementing the recycling of materials in building circular economy sustainability. “We’re way behind (in WA) in terms of our need to recycle, partly because we have a good supply of existing natural resources, so it needs a push and like anything the economics need to come with them.”


PC Walls is pitching ECOPact to clients as part of a sustainability package.

“We can use it as a selling point and in 12-18 months’ time I believe we will see the move from current heated development environment, to low carbon concrete being used extensively by the wider industry on every project,” King says.

“Currently, there’s a reluctance to look outside the square in terms of specifications but it should become the norm.”

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PC Walls is pitching ECOPact to clients as part of a sustainability package.

Low carbon concrete effective for meeting sustainability criteria

The business case for green building is clear. Global evidence confirms green buildings deliver a range of quantitative and qualitative benefits, including lower operating costs and higher returns, enhanced productivity, faster patient recovery times and better learning results.

ECOPact’s Green Star and Infrastructure Sustainability rating criteria are immediate and tangible benefits before those gains also affect the bottom line. Already, Green Star-rated office buildings deliver a 4.3% ‘green premium’ at the time of sale, a 13% higher return, as well as a 56% lower vacancy rate.

Importantly, King believes a change in thinking is required to ensure low carbon concrete creates a genuine market that will absorb any early costs. “In the short-term it will be a little more expensive but unless you start using it, and we make a genuine market, you’re never going to get to a stage where it’s sustainable.”

PC Walls doesn’t mind leading the WA sector in sustainable practice though, particularly with its suite of reliable customers who look for unique, sustainable answers. “At the end of the day we provide solutions,” King says.

“Innovation is our point of difference and sustainability fits into that. You’ve got to have a sustainable economy and every bit helps,” King says. “That’s how I treat everything in business and life. I can feel good about what I’m doing because I’m doing what I can do to encourage sustainability.”