Kingspan is reducing waste, improving upcycling/recycling and transitioning to renewable energy sources at its North America plants.
Sustainability is a goal for many companies, but measurable reductions in waste, carbon emissions and water usage are a difficult task to tackle. Kingspan’s Planet Passionate, a ten-year global sustainability plan, requires accountability through regular reporting. In North America, some aspects are more challenging than others, due to a lack of infrastructure. However, Kingspan Insulated Panels North America has found a way to reduce waste, improve upcycling/recycling and transition to renewable energy sources through careful planning and local partnerships.
With net zero energy goals in place since 2011, Kingspan sought ways to improve and expand upon its renewable energy sources. As the power grid upgrades, so too, does Kingspan’s availability of renewable energy sources. The International Renewable Energy Agency projects that renewables could grow to 27% of total fine energy consumption by 2030, but challenges with deployment and policy could lead to further delays.
With each site located across North America, Kingspan assesses the options in each location. In early 2021, the company’s Columbus, Ohio, facility transitioned to direct-to-grid wind energy. The plant in Modesto, California, is getting a brand-new PV solar panel roof. In 2022, its site in Deland, Florida, is seeking to also install PV solar to covers its electrical power needs. With 100% renewable energy sources in place, the plants significantly reduce carbon emissions while powering the manufacturing process. With reductions in embodied carbon for Kingspan’s products, insulated metal panels used in commercial and industrial buildings contain less embodied carbon, providing a greener future for all.
To improve the circularity of the manufacturing products and process, Kingspan has created a pilot program in its Florida plant, which will roll out to other sites. The program sorts waste into nine different color-coded streams, including cardboard, plastic and wood. Through a local partnership, foam scrap is upcycled into ceiling tiles. With the success of the pilot program, Kingspan is seeking other local partnerships for its four other manufacturing sites to replicate the full program. After gaining notoriety with one of the worst waste reduction rates throughout the global company, Kingspan’s North American insulated panels division is now on track to reduce waste by 30% by the end of the year.
To further increase the use of recycled and upcycled materials, Kingspan is using up to 86% recycled steel for its insulated metal panels. At the Modesto plant, recycled PET plastic from water bottles is a key raw material that makes up part of the formulation for its insulation core, while old manufacturing equipment is getting a new life as rebar for bridges and other projects in the Pacific Northwest.
With regular meetings that require reporting from each division, Kingspan ensures that each plant meets aggressive sustainability targets. To deliver on its Planet Passionate commitment, the company’s multi-pronged approach has taken years of planning, with some goals met within months of execution. For a planet with record greenhouse gas emissions, Kingspan’s mission is more important than ever.