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Thanks to a world first developed right here in the Bay of Islands, the construction industry just got a little closer to reducing its carbon emissions by 2050.

Rockstead Construction, a building contractor with a keen focus on building for the future and sustainable building services, is the latest recipient of the Top Energy Business Development Fund.

The reason is Geobind, developed by Rockstead’s owner Doug Sturrock. An innovative mineral-based bio-aggregate binder for hempcrete, a natural building material with green credentials already widely used in the building industry.

With building projects on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, founder Doug was able to invest more time into researching products that would make homes and businesses healthier and more energy efficient places to live and work.

Hempcrete, already a sustainable building product, would be even more desirable because of Geobind. It would be stronger, faster, safer and thinner, and open up new opportunities for carbon-zero prefabricated building products like panels and blocks, at lower cost.

Market research began in earnest and in 2022 Rockstead Construction secured a Research and Development loan from Callaghan Innovation for product testing. It surpassed expectations and work began on the supply chain and manufacturing process for Geobind.

Fast forward to May of this year and 25 tonnes of product has already been scooped up with a further 300 tonnes on order. Rockstead is now focused its efforts on licensing the manufacturing of Geobind internationally and developing and manufacturing a Structural Insulated Panel (SIPs) design utilising Geobind hempcrete.

The $30,000 Business Development grant from Top Energy will accelerate Geobind’s commercialisation efforts and remove some major hurdles to the growth of the business. Doug is excited about what it means for the future of Geobind.

"Winning the Business Development Fund grant validates our vision of an environmentally friendly alternative for the construction industry. It provides crucial funding to finalise product testing, set up a new manufacturing facility and acquire the necessary accreditations and approvals for Geobind to be widely specified in the construction industry.”

Russell Shaw, Chief Executive of Top Energy emphasised the company's commitment to supporting businesses that drive innovation and sustainability in the region.

"Rockstead Construction's Geobind represents a pioneering approach to sustainable building practices. We are proud to support their vision through the Business Development Fund, enabling them to accelerate the commercialisation of this innovative and eco-friendly construction solution."

Russell Shaw added, "The judges were impressed by Rockstead's commitment to sustainability, innovation, and their potential impact on the construction industry. The Business Development Fund aims to empower businesses that contribute to economic growth in our community, and Rockstead Construction aligns perfectly with that goal."

The Business Development Fund, launched in 2014, encourages and promotes entrepreneurial initiatives in the Far North region. Grants of up to $30,000 are awarded biannually to businesses with ideas or initiatives that have the potential to diversify and stimulate economic development.

The money is either awarded in full to a single stand-out idea or in smaller amounts to several initiatives, depending on the number, quality and merit of the applications received.

For more information about Rockstead Construction go to: www.rocksteadconstruction.co.nz

For more information on Geobind go to: www.geobind.co.nz

For more information on the Top Energy Business Development Fund go to: www.topenergy.co.nz/tell-me-about/sponsorship/business-development-fund

For more information contact: Philippa White, 021 2418740