As Australians rethink how we build, Alspec's 50th anniversary sparks important conversations about the future of sustainable construction. We use this opportunity to sit down with Ross Baynham, Alspec's National Specification and Commercial Product Manager and committed champion of building energy efficiency, to talk about the company's journey and its ambitious vision for the future.

You've been in the building efficiency space for a long time now. What drew you to this work, and what keeps you passionate about it?

I've focused on building performance for over 15 years, from insulation to my current role. What started as a focus on energy efficiency has evolved into a broader commitment. Today, it's about smarter buildings overall: comfortable, healthy, and responsible in their use of resources.

What does sustainability mean for you?

Sustainability used to be primarily about energy savings. While that remains crucial, it now demands a more comprehensive strategy. True sustainability is about lowering emissions while enhancing the user experience and using our resources wisely.

Has focus on sustainability always been a part of your career trajectory?

Absolutely. My move from insulation to the window and door industry was driven by a recognition of the untapped potential for sustainability gains in that sector. Australia is now transitioning to high-performance, thermally-broken glazing – and Alspec is committed to leading that shift.

How important is sustainability to your organisation?

It's moved from important to absolutely crucial. Sustainability is now a core part of Alspec's decision-making. Despite the slow uptake of high-performance window and door systems in Australia, Alspec’s commitment to creating more energy efficient systems is resolute. We're dedicated to demonstrating that beautiful, well-crafted windows and doors can also be a cornerstone of sustainable construction, and these systems will become the norm for us.

What are the company’s current priorities from a sustainability point of view?

Our top priority is Net Zero operations by 2030. It's an ambitious goal because we have many branches around the country, and we distribute aluminium, a traditionally carbon-intensive product, on a large scale. Achieving Net Zero requires us to address emissions at every level of our business.

What’s the biggest hurdle?

Much of our carbon footprint lies upstream in the aluminium supply chain, so we are slightly beholden to the achievements of the aluminium industry at large. We're encouraged by industry shifts, but also taking action within our own control. Innovative materials like GreenCore – a low carbon aluminium option that offers a sustainable path for architects and designers without compromising on performance – are part of the solution, alongside initiatives like Alspec Solar. It will soon adorn the roof of all our warehouses. We will also be reducing the emissions for our customers, partnering with them to provide Alspec Solar energy for their buildings.

Are there any broader industry changes that will help drive the net-zero goal forward?

The most impactful shift is Rio Tinto's commitment to Zero Carbon aluminium by 2030. As Australia's largest smelter, this will profoundly affect our industry. It reinforces the necessity of partnership between manufacturers and suppliers.

Could you also talk about Alspec's new Industrial Business Park? That sounds like a showcase for sustainable design.

It absolutely will be. The Business Park is a statement of our commitment to sustainability, while pushing the boundaries of what's possible. The use of reduced carbon materials, high-performance facade, extensive solar PV, rainwater harvesting, permeable pavements and thoughtful landscaping all create a true green build that prioritises the re-establishment of sensitive vegetation on site. Plus, EV charging for cars and trucks.

With our 50th anniversary in 2024, it's a milestone moment – celebrating how far we’ve come and setting the standard for the future. Alspec is not just adapting to change in construction; we are shaping the path towards a more sustainable built environment.