Earth MindedAugust 17th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs
[DWM]’s 2023 Green Awards Highlight Those Who Do Their Part
For 14 years now, [DWM]’s editors have monitored the industry, evaluating examples of environmental stewardship and conservation, delving out dozens of total awards. At that rate, you might expect candidates to grow scarce, but it’s just the opposite. Each year, the industry comes through with an abundance of options. It is with great pride that we present this year’s recipients of the Annual Green Awards.
Impact: Builders FirstSource
It’s logical to expect home-builders and product manufacturers to produce and specify environmentally-conscious buildings and products. But when one of the nation’s largest distributors and providers steps up, that’s worth noting.
Builders FirstSource not only works to source and produce sustainable materials, but as a provider and distributor, the company also focuses on the impacts of transporting and bringing those products to jobsites.
“We recognize that achieving a sustainable future has its challenges, but we are ready to tackle them head-on with team members to foster greener homebuilding,” says the company’s CEO, Dave Rush.
As a distributor, the company:
• Implemented a nationwide delivery routing system to maximize efficiency and reduce emissions;
• Monitors vehicle idle times, while providing financial incentives to keep idling at a minimum; and
• Is introducing alternative fuel vehicles, including electric, compressed natural gas and clean-burning diesel.
In 2022, Builders FirstSource also utilized 142 electric forklifts, with plans to add another 52 by 2024.
As one of the nation’s largest suppliers of structural building products, 90% of the company’s wood comes from Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)- or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified vendors. Officials estimate that 1.3 million trees were saved in 2022 by the use of its manufactured framing components versus traditional framing methods—including 4.3 million trees since 2019. In 2022, the company’s Ready-Frame materials avoided approximately 77,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
In the end, with 570 locations across 42 states, Builders FirstSource proves that it’s the sum of the whole that makes the greatest impact.
Deceuninck North America, along with its larger global entity, Deceuninck Group, set goals in 2022 to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions to a corporate Net-Zero Standard by 2050. The company plans to do so in accordance with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a framework of net-zero targets that are consistent with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
“Responding to the SBTi’s call for corporate climate action illustrates our strong commitment to sustainability,” says Bruno Humblet, CEO of Deceuninck Group. “The science-based targets provide a framework for us to evaluate every business decision from a climate mitigation point of view.”
According to SBTi’s framework a carbon footprint is calculated by considering emissions related to:
• An organization’s own operations;
• The amount and type of electricity consumptions; and
• Upstream and downstream supply chain impact.
How will the company reach its goals? Officials say it will reduce direct emissions by using green electricity at its Monroe, Ohio, and Fernley, Nev., locations, while maximizing its capacity for on-site renewable electricity production. The company also plans to source renewable energy certificates, while gradually migrating toward purchase power agreements.
Because more than half of the company’s energy consumption is linked to extrusion processes, it will focus on process improvements, phasing out the use of fuel oil and increasing measurement and monitoring. At the same time, the company will reduce indirect emissions by working with key suppliers “to source lower carbon-intensive PVC resin [and] increasing recycling activities,” incorporating more recycled content and fewer virgin raw materials.
“We take pride in leading by example and taking the necessary steps to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change,” says Joren Knockaert, president and CEO of Deceuninck North America.
Masonite was founded nearly a century ago on a revolutionary new process that transformed waste wood into pressed hardboard. Now, “As we enter our second century, we want to do even more,” the company’s environmental messaging declares. “We acknowledge that our progress will not be linear, but by integrating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) into business processes and continuing to transform our culture, we believe we will meet our targets and ambitions.”
Today, Masonite’s doors use pre-consumer recycled wood chips, while solid-core doors are made with the primary components of residual wheat straw after harvesting for flour or beer. Hollow-core doors are made using corrugated material from recycled paper products, while the bottom rails in its exterior doors are produced from recycled, high-density polyethylene and wood flour.
In its 2022 ESG statement, the company reports that it:
• Achieved a 34% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions since 2019;
• Made a $5.4 million investment in the Circular Innovation Fund; and
• Launched an ESG Champion program for its L.P. division to engage employees, including eight hours of paid time off annually for volunteer work.
“Our world continues to rapidly evolve and, through it all, Masonite has remained committed to sustainability and being good corporate stewards,” says Howard Heckes, the company’s president and CEO.
Reduce & Reuse: Kömmerling
In June of last year Kömmerling rebranded, placing sustainability at the core of its corporate identity. The company’s primary goals now call for building a sustainable loop for high-quality products made of synthetic materials. And that means a lot of reuse and recycling.
“Living up to our responsibility means protecting the future. It’s up to us, the industry leaders of our time, to make a difference today,” declares Dr. Peter Mrosik, owner and CEO of Profine Group, Kömmerling’s parent company. “Today we develop the right solutions for tomorrow and set standards for a future worth living for. This is what our Kömmerling brand stands for.”
Company officials say they’re convinced that a seamless circular economy is key to “making this world a better place from an environmental and economic perspective.” As a result, they’re developing material loops that span raw materials procurement and use by partners to end customers and beyond.
Beginning at the earliest phases, Kömmerling examines how product life can be maximized. As a result, the company’s windows made of PVC-U have a theoretical life of at least 40 years, according to company information. Meanwhile, they can be recycled eight times over and are formulated to make recycling a straightforward process.
The company says its ReFrame product is the first window profile made of 100% recycled PVC-U, garnering multiple international awards.
Kömmerling even recycles energy. The waste heat generated from manufacturing profiles and sheets is repurposed to heat one of its largest office buildings.
Achievement: Anderson Corp
Andersen’s environmental efforts are no secret. The company has been a big proponent of green initiatives over the years—so much so that it has dedicated an entire web page to its environmental documents, including Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) with independent verification, life cycle assessments, LEED v4.1 Credit Guidance, Passive House certifications, Indoor Air Quality certifications, Forest Stewardship Certification and a host of others.
This year the company was named a 2023 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award winner, marking its ninth Sustained Excellence Award and the 14th time the company has been recognized by the Energy Star program.
Among the company’s ongoing environmental initiatives are:
• Community solar gardens, which help its Renewal by Andersen facility achieve 100% solar energy subscriptions for operations;
• An award-winning steam plant to power heating and cooling of its 2.5-million-square-foot Bayport, Minn., manufacturing facility (the plant is powered by recycled sawdust from on-site milling); and
• The use of secondhand thermal power captured from the nearby St. Croix River power plant to help power operations.
Andersen also signed a regional Pollinator Pledge, committing to the restoration of a pollinator-friendly habitat at its Bayport facility—a collaborative effort among federal agencies, businesses, nonprofits and others.
Lastly, in August of last year, the company entered into an agreement with Ubiquitous Energy, a developer of transparent solar technology, to jointly develop energy-generating windows.
Special Mention: Therma-Tru
In 2022, Therma-Tru announced the launch of Therma-Tru Thrive, the brand’s new social responsibility initiative. The core mission statement behind Thrive is, “to build a better world, every chance we get.” The program centers on a commitment to make safe and sustainable products, support communities where the company’s employees live and work, and to leave a
“positive, lasting impact on the environment.”
Last year, Therma-Tru diverted over 15 million pounds of waste otherwise destined for landfills.
Additionally, according to company officials:
• 80% of the company’s doors are Energy Star rated;
• Most of its lite frame scrap material is reused for new frames; and
• More than 50% of its fiberglass end rails are made from over 90% recycled content.
Therma-Tru Thrive features three key pillars: making life better at home; helping take care of our planet; and being a good neighbor.
Honorable Mention: Pella Corp.
We all know from grade school what happens when you mix all of the leftover paint colors together: they form black. Pella uses this principle to turn reclaimed and left-over stains into a special black stain finish.
Meanwhile, with 49 products on the list, at press time Pella had more windows in Energy Star’s Most Efficient 2023 database than any other manufacturer.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.