Saint-Gobain Announces Sustainability Awards Winners

Saint-Gobain has announced the winners of its sustainability awards program, which recognizes company locations across North America for their sustainability efforts. The winning sites were recognized at a companywide sustainability conference.
 
“Saint-Gobain’s commitment to sustainability compels us to consider the environmental impact of our business at every stage, from product design to product disposal at the end of life,” says John Crowe, president and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corp. “As a company, we realize it is the aggregate of efforts made by our approximately 14,000 employees that will allow us to reach our targets for waste, water, energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction, and we believe recognizing sites for their programs will advance achievement across our portfolio.”
 
The program, referred to as the Waste, Water and Energy Program was established in 2016 by the Saint-Gobain Environmental, Health and Safety Department. The program is designed to highlight practical and effective solutions for increasing the sustainability of sites.
 
“Many of the champions were selected based on their commitment to improvement and the systems they put in place to achieve it, not simply one-time projects,” says Lauren Alterman, vice president-environmental, health and safety of Saint-Gobain Corp. “Our plants take sustainability measures every day, and it’s exciting to be able to review all the efforts collectively and celebrate the biggest achievements with such a fun competition.”
 
The Saint-Gobain Environmental, Health and Safety Department recognized the following 2016 champions:

  • Waste Champion: Saint-Gobain Crystals Hiram/Newbury, Ohio, is the recipient of the Waste Belt for its development of a comprehensive program designed to reduce hazardous waste. The site achieved a 46 percent reduction in the identified waste stream through programmatic and technological advancements by working with a coalition of third-party waste handlers, process quality engineers, Saint-Gobain Environmental, Health and Safety Department personnel and within its manufacturing program.
  • Water Champion: Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials Wheatfield, N.Y., is the recipient of the Water Belt for its water reduction program. The program began with a cooling water system opportunity and expanded from there by pursuing water reduction strategies in a number of areas around the plant. The focus went beyond a single project and instead evaluated how the site uses water as a system, allowing the site to achieve a reduction of 10.1 million gallons of water used per year through various project efforts.
  • Energy Champion: SageGlass Faribault, Minn., is the recipient of the Energy Belt for its comprehensive energy reduction strategy. The site evaluated all of its energy-using systems, from lighting to HVAC to process, and designed programs, capital projects and educational tools to reduce energy intensity by 54 percent year over year.
  • CO2 Champion: CertainTeed Roofing Oxford, N.C., is the recipient of the CO2 Belt for its reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product made. Using ISO systems 14001 and 26000 (Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility) to design a system focused on energy and carbon reduction, the Oxford, N.C., roofing plant was able to achieve results. These management systems guided its energy team to focus on the large users of energy and creators of carbon, which ultimately resulted in projects addressing fume burner improvements, more efficient process heating and the elimination of No. 2 fuel oil from usage.
  • Overall Champion: CertainTeed Roofing Ennis, Texas, is the recipient of the Overall Champion Belt for being a finalist in all four sustainability categories due to a broad and extensive focus on its impacts inside and outside of its plant. For water, waste, energy and CO2 emissions, the team undertook a multitude of projects including: an LED retrofit; a program to recycle used wood pallets; and a system that resulted in the reuse of 50 percent of process cooling water.

 
“This program is unique because it encourages some fun internal competition in a way not seen before in the industry,” says Ryan Spies, manager-process sustainability & energy of Saint-Gobain Corp. “There’s nothing quite like a plant manager holding up a 20-pound, custom-designed, bejeweled belt for all his or her plant to see and then having to defend that belt next year.”

NABTU and ACEEE Collaborate to Create Training Opportunities Via Energy Efficiency Program Investments

North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) unveils a collaborative effort that describes the potential to create career training opportunities via investments in energy efficiency programs.

Formal energy efficiency policies throughout our nation are estimated to require the skills of hundreds of thousands of skilled craft professionals. Leveraging these investments to create career training opportunities via a formal apprenticeship training is an ideal scenario.

“As states make the necessary plans for a clean energy future, they should consider the social and economic benefits of their decisions. Energy efficiency programs have the potential to provide jobs and career training opportunities for a significant number of Americans,” commented Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

As we progress towards a more energy-efficient economy, the manufacturing, industrial, and power sectors are considering investments that will lower their operating costs by conserving energy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed the Clean Energy Incentive Program that is designed to credit states for early Clean Power Plan compliance action, with the hopes that such a move will spur energy efficiency measures despite the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the climate change rule.

As we have seen with other sectors of the economy, this has the potential to create career training opportunities in the skilled trades, provided that industry, government and labor work in tripartite harmony to make it happen.

“North America’s Building Trades Unions and its signatory contractors invest over $1 billion annually in the world’s most successful skilled craft apprenticeship infrastructure,” said Sean McGarvey president of NABTU. “We have real-world experience in working with businesses, industry, government and community organizations that see the value in leveraging public and private investment so that they create opportunities for career training in the skilled trades, particularly for historically neglected communities, such as women, people of color, military veterans, and urban youth. Energy efficiency investments have that same potential, and we are proud to join with ACEEE to issue a call to make that a reality.”

Click here to read the joint fact sheet.

RCMA Members Apply Roof Coatings for ECA EnergyFit Program

Twenty-three members of the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) volunteered to apply reflective cool roof coatings on 18 low-income row homes on the 1200 block of West Seltzer Street in North Philadelphia to support the Energy Coordinating Agency’s (ECA) EnergyFit Philly program.

Under a hot sun and high humidity, volunteers climbed up 32 foot ladders to apply reflective cool roof coatings under the guidance and support of ECA’s staff and contractors. Working on houses on both sides of the street, every roof received the first coating in about three hours.

Cooling down with iced water, volunteers listened to remarks by City Council President, Darrell Clarke – who thanked each volunteer personally – while acknowledging the good work by ECA and noting how energy conservation helps residents save money. The Director of Sustainability, Christine Knapp, drew attention to our prolonged heat wave and focused on the value of cool roof coatings to reduce air conditioning use. Finally, Darlene Pope, “the city’s best block captain,” gave the final remarks of the day. Gracious and thankful, and an advocate for clean energy, Darlene thanked the volunteers from RCMA for helping to make this day possible.

ECA’s EnergyFit Philly program preserves affordable housing by repairing, and providing energy retrofits to low income homes in poor condition. It is an innovative approach to the prevention of homelessness by preserving and stabilizing affordable housing that is currently ineligible for energy conservation programs due to roof leaks and other home repair needs. Applying roof coatings on these homes reduces the cooling load and extends the service life of the roofs.

Roof coatings are designed for protecting and extending the service life of roof assemblies for new construction and more commonly, existing roof coverings. Reflective roof coatings extend the life of the roof by reducing heat transfer into the building, decreasing thermal shock, and helping to mitigate leaks.

Roof coatings reflect visible light as well as infrared and ultraviolet radiation, causing roof surface temperature to drop by up to 55°F and decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building on hot days. Lower roof temperatures in turn help to reduce cooling costs for buildings with air conditioning units and reduce interior temperatures and relative humidity in buildings with or without cooling units. A building owner can experience an energy savings of up to 15% after using a reflective roof coating, according to information from the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Program. When reflective roof coatings are used on a significant portion of a city’s roofs, they will also reduce the urban heat island effect, essentially cooling the entire city.

Several RCMA roof coatings manufacturer and supplier members have donated their products for use in this project, or volunteered their time to apply coatings to a block of low income row homes on West Seltzer Street. The RCMA is partnering with ECA on this project as part of its biennial industry conference, the International Roof Coatings Conference.