York Handmade builds on its green credentials

The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company, based at Alne, near Easingwold, is building on its green credentials by launching a series of eco-friendly initiatives.

Managing director Guy Armitage commented: “It is entirely appropriate that we should be enhancing our green credentials because our handmade bricks are the most sustainable of all building products. They have a life cycle of hundreds of years and are very environmentally-friendly.

“The threat to our environment is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. It is essential that manufacturers such as ourselves do our bit to help to preserve our precious and fragile world.

“Our new brick dryers have reduced our overall energy consumption by 10% already, following a refurb in 2019 dryer refurbishment. We are now refurbing a second dryer this year and looking at ways to recover heat more efficiently from our kilns to dry bricks.

“We are investigating non-fossil fuel sources of electric and gas for the future. In the UK, a fellow brick company is pioneering carbon capture technology of its exhaust emissions and we are keen to investigate if this is something we can benefit from too.

Guy Armitage explained that there were many exciting possibilities to make brick an even greener durable product than it was already. Brick can last for over 500 years and, of course, be reclaimed and re-used from buildings which are at the end of their life.

He added: “This year we have planted half an acre of trees and 400 metres of hedging as part of our quarry restoration plan at our headquarters in Alne.

“As part of our environmental continual improvement strategy for the environment, we have procured two fully electric cars and a PHEV car replacing what recently would have been three diesel cars, including a gas-guzzling pick up. We estimate this will save three tonnes of carbon emissions per year. As a brick maker we are energy intensive but not energy inefficient. The UK is going to be carbon neutral by 2050 and as a brick-maker we are up for the challenge of going carbon neutral by 2050 too.

“We carefully calculate and monitor an average amount of carbon emissions per brick produced for each quarter of the year – and we are looking to reduce our carbon footprint whenever we can. We have managed to do so in every successive year since 2005,” he added.

Meanwhile York Handmade’s ability to be entirely flexible in its production means that it has a very strong hand to play when it comes to conservation and sustainability. The art of hand-moulding bricks, which dates back to Roman times, could not be more ecologically sound.

Guy Armitage commented: “We are also particularly proud of the fact that the majority of our employees are local people who have grown up with the company. There is a strong pride in their work and their skills have been honed to add to their natural willingness to work hard and have pride in the finished article”.

He added: “This emphasis on local labour is crucially important for the local economy, again a very important factor in sustainability”

For further information, please contact Robert Beaumont of Robert Beaumont Associates on 01423 323139 or Guy Armitage at The York Handmade Brick Company, Forest Lane, Alne, near Easingwold, York YO61 1TU. Tel: 01347 838881. Website: www.yorkhandmade.co.uk e-mail: sales@yorkhandmade.co.uk