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Mohawk Industries Sustainability Report: Targets 25% Cuts in Energy, Water Use

Mohawk Industries targets 25 percent reductions in energy use, water use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste to landfill by 2020, according to the company’s inaugural annual Sustainability report.

Mohawk says it plans to reduce its overall energy intensity 25 percent compared to 2009 levels through energy use optimization that includes proven technologies, process innovation and employee engagement.

Mohawk participates in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Save Energy Now Leader Program. Participants pledge to voluntarily reduce their industrial energy efficiency 25 percent over the coming decade.

The flooring manufacturer also will cut its total GHG emission intensity by 25 percent compared to 2009 levels through reduced energy consumption and the use of renewable or alternative energy sources.

The company also commits to reducing its total water use intensity by 25 percent, using 2008 as the baseline year. The company expects to meet its goal through new water reclamation and recycling programs.

Mohawk will increase its recycling rates and reuse initiatives to reduce its total landfill intensity 25 percent compared to 2009 levels. The company currently diverts more than three billion pounds of material annually, and all of its cardboard is recycled into other paper or cardboard boxes.

Mohawk’s first report details some of the progress it has made on meeting these goals.

As an example, the company’s Unilin plants in Europe use biofuels to meet the energy needs required for the drying and press phases of particle and MDF board manufacturing.

Unilin generates nearly all of this energy through boilers that burn bio-mass materials found on site such as bark, sander dust, saw trimmings, reject board and reject fiber.

The company’s Phelps Road manufacturing site implemented an energy-saving program that modified its operating hours to align energy use with off-peak hours to help utility companies operate more efficiently.

The company also has made some progress in the area of water use reductions. The Mohawk Flooring Group alone has achieved a 50 percent reduction in water use since 2005. Within its Dal-Tile organization, four of its eight manufacturing plants recover and reuse 100 percent of their process waste water, and Unilin’s offices in Wielsbeke, Belgium, capture rainwater in a one-million-liter tank to supply all of its sanitary water.

Unilin plans to add another 750,000-liter tank in the near future.

In addition, the Mohawk bottle recycling plant in Georgia has projects underway to capture and recycle grey water. It’s also looking at new water conservation initiatives.

The company’s Waste Stream Management (WSM) management group has identified 139 recyclable items with more than 100 companies purchasing these materials. WSM has plans to expand the initiative to Unilin and Dal-Tile and to focus on reusing Mohawk’s own pre-consumer waste in the production of its floor covering products.

Mohawk still has some work to do in the area of GHG measurements. Currently, the company’s GHG intensity performance measurements are tied only to its direct and indirect energy consumption. Mohawk’s goal is to fully report both Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 emissions by 2011. Once achieved it will develop metrics needed for Scope 3, including the supply chain.

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