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Frontlines of Climate Change: Deforestation

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 30, 2014 12:27:10 PM

Ever since plants and fungi colonized the land 500 million years ago, forests have provided essential habitat for countless living creatures. For humans, forests initially represented shelter, sustenance, and protection. The moment we discovered that we could make fire, the value of forests transformed. When we learned how to clear forests to cultivate crops and feed our livestock, their value proposition changed again.

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Owens Corning: Green Inside and Out

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Apr 13, 2014 11:30:00 AM

FOR 2013, OWENS CORNING WAS NAMED THE INDUSTRY LEADER for the DJSI World Building Products component. Composed of global sustainability leaders, the DJSI World Index is an elite listing of the world's largest companies based on long-term economic, environmental and social criteria.

"This is a milestone year on many levels for Owens Corning, including the celebration of today's news and the year-long celebration of our company's 75th anniversary," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mike Thaman. "One of the keys to our success yesterday, today and especially tomorrow, is the energy our people put toward our sustainability strategy."

"Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the world that we leave to the future is this company's unwavering commitment," said Owens Corning Chief Sustainability Officer Frank O'Brien-Bernini. "Our people continue to prove that our customers, our communities, our employees and our investors can see significant benefits from that strategy."

Owens Corning is devoted to delivering sustainable solutions across both of its business segments: Building Materials and Composites.  The company recently reported its sustainability progress in its 7th Sustainability Report.  Some highlights include:

  • Achieved our 11th-consecutive year of safety improvement, punctuated by the introduction of a company-wide policy to eliminate cell phone usage while driving.
  • Successfully achieved all seven of its first 10-year environmental footprint goals as of year-end 2012.
  • Completed several greenhouse gas reduction projects while laying the groundwork for many others, including diesel-to-natural gas transportation fuel-switching, fuel cells, waste heat recovery, biomass, solar, and combined heat and power.
  • Partnered with The World Resources Institute on its Aqueduct project to conduct a global water stress assessment of Owens Corning's global operations and completed several successful major water use reduction projects in stressed areas.
  • Released the first Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for fiberglass insulation inNorth America.
  • Donated enough insulation and roofing material to reroof 283 homes and insulate more than 1,000 homes for those in need.
  • Strengthened our Supplier Code of Conduct (as an integral part of our supplier management program), as well as our Employee Code of Conduct to create explicit expectations relative to sustainability.
  • Achieved more than 60 percent shingle recycling availability, allowing our unqualified statement that "Shingles are Recyclable."
  • Earned a 10th consecutive perfect score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index.
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Roofs Should Balance Environmental Concerns and Practical Risks

Posted by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley

Mar 10, 2014 11:02:00 AM

When builders raise the roof these days, they choose from many more options than just 20 years ago.

Formerly, they selected among unsustainable, impact-resistant asphalt tiles, wood shake roofs vulnerable to fires, and energy intensive tile roofs. Now, however, they have the ability to choose sustainability and durability—all at the same time.

Practical building weighs both green responsibility and risk. Just as some extremely durable roofing materials aren't eco-friendly, some "eco-roofs" present impractical risk. Risk matters, both to the buyer and to his or her home insurance provider. Premiums are based in large part on the amount of risk posed by a home. The roof is one of the key components—wind and hail damage, usually to roofs, is the most common home insurance claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

That's why, when searching for green building solutions for a client, you should focus on impact-resistant roofing materials with a UL 2218 class 3 or 4. They'll provide durability for the house while fulfilling your environmental responsibility.  

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Are We Using the “Right” Building Product? Part II

Posted by Laureen Blissard

Oct 22, 2013 2:17:00 PM

Is “Greenwashing” Dead?

Often, salespeople will only provide standard marketing materials or point to their Web site as a source of their information, which won’t have any readily available documentation to back up their claims.

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Are We Using the “Right” Building Products and Materials?

Posted by Laureen Blissard

Aug 26, 2013 2:28:00 PM

In the past 10 years or so, green building product availability and technology has increased along with the revision of energy efficiency codes. Unfortunately, there seems to be a disconnect in the coordination of available information for specifiers, code authors and code officials. This disconnect becomes more apparent when conflicts arise between unique building code requirements and energy code requirements. Add to the above a project attempting to meet green certification and a designer or builder may end up spending precious time and fees researching all of the variables.

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