Architecture and Design is proud to announce EQUITONE as the official sponsor of the ‘Education & Research’ category at the 2019 Sustainability Awards. 

In the lead up to the Sustainability Awards, we spoke to Edward Jewitt, Architectural Sales Manager at EQUITONE, to discuss the company’s approach to sustainability and how they balance form and function in their sustainability endeavours.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Including your background, position and role at Equitone?

I joined EQUITONE in 2014 and have been involved in the successful delivery of numerous projects through Australia. I came to the company with qualifications in Interior Design. I am passionate about combining my expertise and interest in interior and architectural design.

What is the brand history behind EQUITONE and how has the product developed to meet changing expectations around sustainability?

When Ludwig Hatschek invented fibre cement in the late 19th century, he combined the basic elements of the earth: minerals, water, air and fire (heat) in a simple filtration process. Our mother company, Etex, has been manufacturing fibre cement materials since 1905. The most prestigious incarnation of this proud heritage is the EQUITONE façade material range.

Every year 20 million tonnes of building and construction waste is thrown into landfill. This equates to over 40% of Australia’s yearly total waste. Some of these materials have the capacity to be recycled and along with many companies in the industry rising to the challenge, EQUITONE has joined the fight to find new ways to reuse and recycle our materials.

Designed by and for architects, how does Equitone balance form and function to ensure sustainability and product performance doesn’t take away from the appeal of the product from an aesthetic and architectural perspective?

EQUITONE is a through-coloured, low maintenance, high density material with each panel possessing its own individual fibre cement texture. This ensures that no mater what design options are explored by architects, the nature of the EQUITONE material will always guarantee crisp and monolithic details. However, in order to ensure that sustainability continues to remain high on our agenda for future generations, our panels are now able to be removed from one building and reused on another, or they can be crushed into gravel for a second use in driveways and gardens.

Made from a cement composite, how do the different materials in an Equitone ensure maximum sustainability? 

EQUITONE’s materials are composed of all-natural ingredients – air, water, sand, cement, and minerals which ensures that its decomposition will not harm the natural environment. 

When assessing a product’s environmental footprint, durability and longevity is a key concern. What is the durability of Equitone façade panels?

EQUITONE’s materials are pre-finished and high-density, meaning that they are compressed to 13227 tonnes or 12,000 metric tonnes – making them extremely durable and long lasting. This reduces the need for maintenance while it is on the façade and is an ideal solution for educational facilities.

Equitone has a committed programme of continuous product and system development. How has this applied to sustainability and where do you see this growing and developing over the next decade?

Development and innovation is an important component to ensuring that we remain at the forefront of façade design. We have already begun to make changes in the way we produce and use our materials, to ensure that we provide sustainable, comfortable and beautiful living spaces that contribute to a better world.

Facing a changing climate, how do Equitone products respond to environmental extremes and how important is this when considering façade solutions?

EQUITONE materials are a great solution for harsh weather conditions. They can withstand extreme cold, extreme heat, earthquakes and fire. This makes them ideal for use in bushfire and earthquake prone areas.

Equitone is sponsoring the Education and Research category at the Sustainability Awards. How important is Education and Research to Equitone and what are you excited to see in the category?

As mentioned above, we are always learning and innovating. It is in our DNA. We are therefore very proud to be sponsoring a category that represents what we value and teaches our next generation of leaders. Sustainability is a hot topic within the building and construction industry and being a part of the event has been a great way to speak to architects and get a conversation started.