Kingspan has beaten its target of generating at least half its aggregate energy use from renewable resources by 2016. Kingspan’s aggregate renewable energy use was 57 percent of its total energy use in 2016, meaning the company is on track to hit its goal, set in 2011, of operating at Net Zero Energy (NZE) by 2020.
Kingspan’s North American operations have passed the half way mark, as well, by also reaching 57 percent of total renewable energy use. Each individual manufacturing site, which includes panel, flooring, insulation, daylighting and solar integrated building envelope solutions, are pursuing regionally appropriate energy conversation and renewable measures. The Winchester, Va., Kingspan Insulation facility performed above average at 74 percent of its total energy use from renewable resources in 2016.
Globally, Kingspan Group has taken a three pronged approach to reducing its energy foot print:
- Save more energy: Energy efficiency measures introduced by Kingspan have reduced the company’s overall lighting and heat costs by over 30 percent and achieved almost a four-fold decrease in carbon intensity levels.
- Generate more renewable energy: Kingspan’s on-site renewable energy generation has jumped from 6.6 GWh in 2012 to 32.2 GWh in 2016 through the use of solar, wind and biomass technologies. On-site generation across multiple sites globally currently supplies 7.6 percent of the company’s total energy use, and more projects are under construction. For example, in 2015 Ireland’s largest solar PV roof panel installation was made at its Portadown facility, which generates 30 percent of the plant’s energy needs.
- Buy more renewable energy: Kingspan has taken steps to ensure that where renewable energy can’t be produced on-site, it is procured from fully-certified sources. In 2016 all the electricity used at manufacturing sites in North America was procured from certified renewable sources. Globally in 2016, the Group used 164.2 GWh of renewable electricity, almost a six-fold increase from 2011 (and equivalent to not burning 55m tons of coal).
The building sector contributes 30 percent of global annual greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 40 percent of global energy consumption. Unless more action is taken by Governments and corporates, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) predicts that greenhouse gas emissions are set to double over the next 20 years.
Commenting on beating the 50 percent NZE milestone, Russell Shiels, president of Kingspan North America says, “The Kingspan team in North America has worked hard to deliver on the company’s net zero energy targets. We have succeeded because every part of the business pulls its weight and makes reducing Kingspan’s carbon footprint a business objective. In the U.S. we have taken pride in our DeLand, Fla., facility reaching the 80 percent renewable mark in 2016. The DeLand facility also serves as our North American panels business headquarters and is an example of Kingspan’s global ambition.
Kingspan CEO, Gene Murtagh, states, “We are pleased to have exceeded our targets on our path to operating as a Net Zero Energy company by 2020, hitting 57 percent renewable energy in 2016. In the five years since launching this initiative we have seen multiple benefits including reductions in costs, less reliance on fossil fuels and demonstrating the business case for our systems and solutions. Without more action from the corporate sector, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise and the impact of global warming will become a bigger threat for future generations.”
Kingspan has been able to achieve its goals, reducing its impact of the environments, while growing its business at a record pace through acquisitions and strong organic growth. Kingspan now has over 10,000 employees and more than 90 manufacturing plants operating across the world. In North America, Kingspan employs over 1500 staff across 16 manufacturing and distribution facilities.
Kingspan’s environmental achievements have been recognized through its A List ranking on the CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index, for the second year running. It is the only Irish-listed company recognized on this index compiled at the request of 827 investors who represent $100 trillion of assets under management. Kingspan is also a member of the RE100, a group of companies committed to using 100 percent renewable power.