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Kingspan - Introducing "Planet Passionate" for a sustainable Britain

10 February 2020
Reading Time: 3 mins

 

David Wright, National Specification Manager                                                                           

39% of carbon emissions and 36% of all global energy usage comes from buildings and with the construction industry accounting for 30% of all landfill, the challenge facing our industry is substantial. Most reading this will be aware of these figures, but they remain a shocking indictment.

While there is much talk about the ‘why’ we must work towards a sustainable Britain, the ‘how’ is far less understood. Putting a robust roadmap in place is critical, giving unequivocal direction on how the UK will achieve its net-zero targets, and offering clarity on the solutions the Government plans to adopt is going to be vital in enabling stakeholders to respond by putting in place the training so that installers have the skills required, manufacturers have the products and manufacturing capacity in place, so that builders will have the solutions available to make the sustainable buildings we all need.

 

Kingspan are thought leaders; we want to network with other like-minded organisations in influencing UK policy on sustainability – this is one of the reasons we joined UKBCSD. We want to work with disruptors to bring new technologies to the market. This will involve improvements across all our product portfolios, including hot water cylinders. We not only want to show how we can improve energy efficiency within buildings. We also want to show how hot water cylinders, acting as a battery in every home, can transform building practices and significantly contribute towards the UK achieving its net-zero target by facilitating the move towards the use of renewable zero carbon technology and helping to balance the UK energy grid, as we use more wind and solar energy.

We have already been taking our own steps towards this and, at the end of last year, we launched our ten-year “Planet Passionate” strategy  to play our part in reducing the world’s carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and contributing towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The strategy incorporates 12 ambitious targets, addressing the impact of our business and manufacturing in four key areas, with commitments by 2030 to include:

  • Energy: powering 60% of all Kingspan operations directly from renewable energy with a minimum of 20% of this energy generated on manufacturing sites (up from 5.9% today).
  • Carbon: achieving net zero carbon manufacturing and a 50% reduction in product C02 intensity from primary supply partners.
  • Circularity: upcycling of 1 billion PET bottles per annum into insulation products, plus zero company waste to landfill across all sites.
  • Water: harvesting 100 million litres of Kingspan’s water usage from rainwater.

This year alone we are taking a huge step forward within our cylinders business, by changing the type of foam used on our vented cylinders, moving to a new chemical composition that is HFC-free and will reduce the GWP of the foam from 1000 years down to just 1, at the moment we are the only cylinder company to make this change in the UK.

Kingspan are also adopting the strategies across its worldwide footprint to drive carbon out of our operations and out of our supply chain, working towards clean energy and zero waste factories. We are using more renewable, recyclable materials in our manufacturing and we are partnering with others in the industry to create new systems and protocols to enable the reuse and recycling of materials at the end of a building’s life.

We are also committing to proactively protect the environment and wildlife. In 2018 we upcycled 256 million PET bottles into our insulation and in 2019 committed to a target of upcycling one billion PET plastic bottles per annum by 2025. In addition, we agreed a three-year partnership with the EcoAlf Foundation to support and expand their project which removes 150 tonnes of plastic waste from the Mediterranean each year, about 10% of which is PET. Ocean PET recovered from the EcoAlf project is added to the upcycled PET bottles and used to make our insulation. We now plan to support four further ocean clean-up projects by 2025 through Planet Passionate.

These are all tangible, measurable initiatives – they are no longer a vision, becoming instead, the bedrock of our business. We know we can bring this expertise and innovation to the debate but we still seek out new ideas and challenges. Joining forces with UKBCSD members and taking this knowledge to the wider industry is fundamentally important to a sustainable Britain.

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