[DWM] 2020 Green Awards

July 28th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

In a year that reminds us how interconnected we all are, [DWM]’s Annual Green Awards show how the industry’s efforts to save the planet align to make a difference. From recycled material to new products, more efficient windows to reduced carbon dioxide emissions—each company and individual is deserving in its own right but resonates for an entire industry. Join us in congratulating these deserving companies, individuals and innovations.

Personal Achievement

Myra Moore, Shipping Supervisor for Hy-Lite

If one person’s trash is another’s treasure, Myra Moore has her eye on every cardboard box and shipping container. All of those boxes you get from Amazon deliveries? You might be tempted to believe that trashing one or two of them isn’t a big deal, but Moore begs to differ. “I just want people to care about what they’re doing and to be inspired to make a small difference,” she says.

As Hy-Lite’s shipping supervisor, Moore has taken it upon herself to also become the company’s unofficial recycling officer. At the Pensacola, Fla.-based plant, she gathers and catalogues every waste material, aiming to reuse as much as possible. “That should always be your first objective—to reuse things,” she says. “We reuse more than we recycle even.”

With her help, Hy-Lite recycles 8,777 lbs. of vinyl, 16,543 lbs. of cardboard and 800 lbs. of oil each year. Her department reuses every single cardboard box that enters the building—some many times over. Moore gathers and catalogues every box, but for other items she says you just have to get creative. “I look for opportunities and then just nurture and encourage them,” she says.

Inspired by her efforts, many of Hy-Lite’s employees who don’t have access to pick up at home now bring their recycling to work. One employee gathers the company’s 55-gallon, steel drums and “upcycles” them for reuse—including as many as 96 drums per year.

Moore credits her focus on recycling to her mother and says these days it’s just part of her makeup. “My mom was the first one to show me how easy recycling is,” she says. “She was such a great lady and so wise.”

For those who are interested in making a difference, it’s never too late to get started, she says, and in doing so it’s important to let go of the past. “It’s always about looking forward and about the future,” she says. “There’s still a lot we can and need to accomplish, so we can’t hang ourselves up on the past.”

Products

PH Tech – Silensia Series 7500 with Nucleus Technology

While PH Tech’s Silensia Series has been around for years, in late 2019 company officials proudly announced a milestone in a decade-long journey, by releasing what they say is the first patio door in North America to feature profile cores made of up to 100% recycled PVC. “It is now a new product in terms of eco-responsibility,” says Odile Bonnefoy, marketing manager. At the same time, the 7500 series maintains the structural and thermal properties expected from doors made entirely of virgin materials, the company assures.

PH Tech started by reintroducing a portion of its production waste into some of its profiles. Then, through what it dubs the “Nucleus Program,” a Core Coex system for welded profiles allows for the coextrusion of recycled PVC cores and external PVC walls with a full perimeter of virgin material. Mechanically-assembled products utilize a separate capstock technology, which coats recycled materials with a thin, coextruded layer. Both processes require machines capable of “managing two types of PVC to produce a profile with an optimal level of recycled material and unchanged structural qualities,” according to the company. The end result exceeds AAMA quality standards and carries the same warranty provided for products made of virgin PVC. Even as other companies were skeptical about high amounts of recycled PVC, PH Tech remained committed, because “that was something we believed in, in line with our corporate values,” Bonnefoy says. We feel that’s a noble effort and one worth awarding.

Performance

Double Hung

Great Lakes Window Ecosmart/Uniframe

With U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) ratings as low as 0.14, this product is among the most efficient double-hung windows on the market.

Fixed/Picture

Window Mart Mfg. LLC 1000 Picture Window

Window Mart’s 100 series picture window is among the most efficient we found. The U-factor rating for this product spans as low as 0.14 and the SHGC rating clocks in at 0.15.

Casement/Awnings

Polaris Technologies UltraWeld 8450

Also offered as the EnergyWall Windows and Doors 8450, this product offers a U-factor rating of 0.14 and a SHGC rating of 0.13. That’s about as a low as it goes in a standard window.

Reduce and Reuse

Modern Steel Doors

While other companies make doors from recycled steel (some from as much as 100%—see below), Modern Steel Doors goes the extra mile to promote the reasons this option represents such an eco-friendly opportunity.

On his way to and from the company’s location in Tucson, Jeremy Cruz, the company’s president, says he passes a recycling plant every day. That got him thinking: “The car you drive was, who knows, how many cars before that,” he says, making steel one of the ultimate “green” materials, he feels.

With a marketing slogan of “Made Green in the USA,” the company hooks customers on its steel doors by explaining how—pound for pound—more of the material is recycled annually than all others. At the same time, according to Cruz’s research, for every ton of steel recycled, 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal and 120 lbs. of limestone are spared, he says. “That’s more than two tons of finite resources,” the company’s website states.

Topping off its mission (and doors) Modern Steel Doors uses powder coatings, which Cruz says emit zero or near zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—gas or vapor emissions that experts say can cause adverse health and environmental effects. In the U.S., solvent use accounts for 4.2 million tons of VOC emissions annually, he says.

His next focus? Metal doors that incorporate wood panels.

“If someone says, ‘I’ve got to have wood,’ this is an alternative,” he suggests. “They still have the appearance they’re after, but this method consumes around 75% of the wood they would have [through a solid wood door].”

Hope’s Windows

Leaning on the same principals as Modern Steel Doors, Hope’s Windows goes a small step further by using 100% recycled steel. By recycling, the steel industry saves enough energy annually to power 18 million homes, the company tells its customers, adding, “We are proud of the fact that our steel windows and doors are made with hot-rolled sections that are 100% recycled,” including 97% post-consumer and 3% post-industrial.

Hope’s finishes are applied through what the company calls an “e-coat process,” utilizing lead-free materials and “zero hazardous air pollutants,” or HAPs.

Technology

Glenview Doors – Euro Technology

Glenview’s Euro Technology is notable for the ways in which it helps to conserve natural resources, while also bringing greater thermal performance to wood doors.

As with most engineered wood products, doors with Euro Technology utilize a top-layer in order to provide the look and feel of solid-wood, while conserving materials. “To my best knowledge, we are the only company in the U.S. offering this type of technology and product,” says Greg Wozniak, the company’s founder and CEO.

Glenview started out making solid-wood doors, but eventually shifted to what Wozniak describes as a “hybrid” design. The company’s doors are 2-3/4-inches thick and include stiles and rails made from solid European woods. But rather than solid wood cores, they include layers of aluminum sheets and plywood, plus rigid polystyrene. The design is topped with wood veneers that gives doors the look and feel of solid wood. In addition to conserving materials, the design also provides U-values of less than 0.3. Doors also weigh on average 20% less than their solid-wood counterparts, allowing the company to conserve fuel used for shipping and transport.

Honorable Mention

Origin Doors with Aerogel Technology

The use of aerogel in fenestration is something that’s been talked about for decades. In 2018, Origin Doors began offering windows that incorporate the material as a thermal break.

Aerogel is among the most insulating products on planet earth, suggests Ben Halvorsen, the company’s president—a point to which experts agree. Dating back to the early 1930s, the synthetic material is made in a variety of formats, including from silica (most common), carbon or metal oxides. By freeze drying and replacing the liquid components of gels with gas, the insulator is comprised of 99.89% air by volume, officials for Origin say. When placed as a thermal-break in windows, a single 10-mm-thick layer increases the insulation factor by up to 67%, the company reports, allowing for U-values as low 0.15. Halvorsen credits Jakub Zhardil, who heads up the company’s technical and product department, for bringing the technology to the U.S. fenestration market.

Commitment

Rehau Group

Over the years, this 72-year-old company has worked to make a name for itself when it comes to environmental protection. In May 2020, it signed the United Nations’ (UN) Global Compact, landing a spot in the series “50 Sustainability and Climate Leaders.”

In a message labeled “Planet first,” company officials say, “We believe it is our duty to meet the needs of the present without compromising the prospects of future generations … Sometimes this means taking tough decisions that put planet before profit and people before products.” Based on its latest environmental impact statements, a strong argument can be made that the company is backing those statements.

In its focus on “the need for a circular economy,” Rehau has worked to produce greater reuse since the 1950s. “We work on the basis that polymers are always recyclable,” one of the company’s environmental statements declares. At its facility in Runcorn, Cheshire, England, recycled PVC windows are shredded and granulated, then used to create new, co-extruded products. The company’s window production produces up to 88% fewer CO2 emissions than it would using new materials, officials say. Today, 20% of its factories run entirely on renewable energy, while nearly 70% of its packaging materials are made from recycled materials. To hold itself accountable, the company gathers and analyzes information on the consumption of gas and heating oil, electricity usage, CO2 emissions and water consumption on a monthly basis.

With a presence in 170 locations worldwide, the company is a member of 10 climate and environment-related associations and four initiatives. Going forward, its strategies call for “accelerating climate protection.” By 2025, the company aims to cut CO2 emissions by at least 30%.

Industry Partner

The Environmental Protection Agency

Though doors and windows are a tiny part of its focus, there’s no debating that through its collaboration with the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has helped to spur significant public awareness for energy efficient products. Established by EPA in 1992 under the authority of the Clean Air Act Section 103(g), the goal of the Energy Star program includes helping “consumers, businesses, and industry save money and protect the environment through the adoption of energy-efficient products and practices.” Since its inception, it’s estimated that the program and its partners have helped American families and businesses save more than four trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, reducing greenhouse gases by more than 3.5 billion metric tons. In 2018 alone, the program helped to reduce the energy costs of consumers by $35 billion and in 2019 EPA officials estimate that more than 98,000 homeowners retrofitted their homes through the Home Performance with Energy Star program, for a total of more than 870,000 to date.

“This year, we celebrate 50 years of environmental progress at EPA,” says EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I am honored to be part of this legacy and especially proud of the progress we made in 2019.”

According to program officials, these days it’s estimated that 90% of Americans recognize the Energy Star label—including on packaging and marketing for door and window products. In May 2011, DOE and EPA sought to strengthen Energy Star by adding a “Most Efficient” program to increase market awareness even further, while promoting product innovation.

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