CertainTeed and Warden Electric collaborate to increase Sustainability
Collaboration between the L’Anse, Mich., plants of CertainTeed Corporation and Warden Electric, is creating a perfect demonstration of sustainable management of resources. L’Anse Warden Electric Company recently bought an existing power plant and converted it from coal, oil, and natural gas fuel to a biomass powered plant. Management at both the power company and CertainTeed saw an opportunity to leverage their close proximity and resources to benefit each other and the environment.
The partnership between CertainTeed and Warden involves three elements. Converting Warden’s plant to green biomass fuel was the first in a string of environmental wins for both companies. Secondly, excess steam generated at the power plant is channeled to CertainTeed for use in its production of mineral fiber ceiling tiles, displacing the use of natural gas, previously used to run the product dryers. In addition, CertainTeed provides scrap generated in its production process to the power plant to be burned for additional green biomass input.
“The materials we burn for green energy today – 400 tons per day – used to go to landfills. Today they are diverted from landfills to produce additional green energy resources for public use,” says Mike Reid, general manager/chief operating officer, L’Anse Warden Electric Power.
“CertainTeed’s L’Anse plant is taking a holistic approach in mitigating its impact on the environment,” says Tad Radzinski, president of Sustainable Solutions Corporation, which recently conducted an environmental evaluation of the plant. “Partnering with companies like Warden further demonstrates the company’s commitment to being an industry leader in both the sustainability of its products and the environmentally friendly operation of its facilities.”
In addition to the Warden relationship, CertainTeed also has a number of other environmental initiatives in play in L’Anse. For instance, CertainTeed diverts inert sludge from being landfilled by filtering it through three settling ponds. Clean water filtered through the settling ponds is used to irrigate an approximately 120-acre spray field. The residual organic matter that settles in the ponds is used as fertilizer for farming operations. In 2008, more than 7,600 tons of inert material was converted for use as fertilizer.
“Our commitment in preserving the environment goes beyond the sustainable attributes of our products,” says Cedric Woindrich, vice president and general manager of CertainTeed Ceilings. “Architects and building owners are focusing more and more on real sustainability, and by embracing the broad perspective of our environmental impact and focusing on the life cycle of products, we are well positioned to meet the growing demands of the green building industry.”
CertainTeed also uses recycled content in product manufacturing and offers an end-of-life ceiling tile recycling program. Old panels are transported to the manufacturing plant where they are mixed with water, broken down into slurry and used to supplement virgin material in the manufacturing of new ceiling products.
“CertainTeed is leading by example by integrating sustainability into everything they do, while directly benefiting the L’Anse community,” says Radzinski.
CertainTeed Ceilings is committed to providing innovative acoustical ceiling and wall solutions that contribute to superior environments for the eye, the ear and the mind. As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, CertainTeed Ceilings is a leader in the effort to provide building materials that promote sustainable design. Comprised of high recycled content, CertainTeed ceiling products help contribute points toward LEED® certification.