Australian EPA gives Pilkington green light on upgrade

Victoria's Environment Protection Authority has agreed a four-way, four-year covenant with glass manufacturer Pilkington, Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Industry Group to help the company substantially cut the environmental impact of its operations.

The covenant, the first between EPA Victoria and a manufacturer, has been in negotiation for about a year, and relates to Pilkington's planned $130 million upgrade of its Dandenong factory. It will allow the company to produce enhanced energy-efficient coatings for its glass panes.

In return, the authority will lobby the Government for tougher energy efficiency performance criteria for buildings that gauge the glazing strength of windows in houses and other buildings.

EPA Victoria's director of sustainable development, Terry A'Hearn, said the most significant environmental benefits would occur when businesses "can bring environmental and financial gains together".

"A lot of environmental gains have been made in traditional improvements at the manufacturing side about direct emissions to the environment, and we continue to do that and work with companies on that, but the really big gains in the future will be through coming up with more clever products," Mr A'Hearn said.

Pilkington's upgrade, which is expected to be completed within two years, will allow it to add up to six microscopically thin layers of chemical coatings to its panes. This will reduce buildings' heat loss in winter and heat absorption during summer.

"It makes a huge difference when you do the calculations of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from unnecessary heating and cooling, for both residential and commercial, in fact," said Chris Barker, Pilkington's marketing and business development manager.

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