Turning up the heat...

A polystyrene insulation business set up without a Government subsidy in a derelicit shed and using machinery scrounged from the nearby landfill has reached the finals of a prestigious business award.

Poly Palace, at the entrance of Spicer Landfill was Porirua's only finalist in the 2007 Wellington Region Gold Awards for successful businesses.

It was nominated for the inaugural 'Green' gold award, which paid tribute to business with positive sustainable business practices. The award was won by Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

Director Richard Moore, who started Poly Palace 3 years ago, says it is now insulating a house a day, between 100 and 120 square meters.

Mr Moore converts large blocks of polystyrene into "Palace Planks", that are fitted under-floor between the floor joists of old houses and "Palace Pods" that are installed in new-build concrete foundations.

Three years ago, films such as The Lord of the Rings and King Kong were wrapping up production and the waste , which would have been dumped in a landfill, became the major source of raw polystyrene for Poly Palace.

With constant orders for insulation, Mr Moore says it is a "hectic" time and adds, laughing that there would have been a better time to be nominated than now.

"but that's the way of a growing business"

"The award is not so much for me, but for our employees"

"We've got eight employees and I'm going to hire another four. Isn't that fantastic?

"We're actually employing people to help keep waste out of landfills."

He says the product they create is "real sustainability", going beyond the hype and the rhetoric. If you tried to process polystyrene now it would be expensive.

"So we stick it under-floors for a hundred years and in a hundred years time it will be cheaper to process.

"Plus we have saved it from going into landfill and we're putting wages wages into the economy."

Mr Moore boasts of creating a "climate of Brisbane" to a house with his insulation and says the effect can be felt immediately by homeowners standing on the floor.

"They tell us, "I can feel where [your installers] are up to."

Andrew Bonallack