Owens Corning, a leading manufacturer of fiberglass and foam insulation products, has reduced its energy consumption by 11 percent, water use by 3 percent and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 9 percent in 2008, compared to the previous year, according to the company’s third annual 2008 sustainability report.
The company’s GHG reduction, as it relates to operational intensity, however, was more modest. See the following chart.
Despite the reduction of GHG emissions from 7.6 million metric tons in 2007 to 6.9 million metric tons in 2008, the company’s GHG emissions have increased from 6.1 million metric tons in the base year of 2002. The company attributes part of the increase to additional emissions of HCFC foam insulation blowing agents. In 2009, Owens Corning’s North American operations for foam products are being converted to a new blowing agent that is expected to reduce GHG intensity by more than 70 percent at those locations.
In 2008, Owens Corning reduced its energy consumption from 10.6 million MWh in 2007 to 9.4 million MWh by implementing low/no cost energy reduction solutions, of which many were identified through energy assessments, investing in low-risk/high reward projects and implementing measures and technologies that reduce energy consumption, according to the report.
The report also notes that the company reduced its water use from 14.5 million cubic meters in 2007 to 14.0 million cubic meters in 2008 as a result of operational improvements, water filtration and reuse programs, and process optimization and reengineering of water use in its composite sizing process.
Other environmental highlights in 2008 include a reduction of 42,000 metric tons of waste to landfill and 400 metric tons of particulate matter. The company also cut NOx emissions by 800 metric tons and VOC emissions by 300 metric tons.
In the product area, the certified recycled content of the company’s fiberglass product increased from 35 to 40 percent, which reduced the amount of glass waste sent to landfills.