2016 Sustainability Report

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Energy

Although most of our manufacturing processes are not energy-intensive, we are committed to reducing our energy consumption to minimize our greenhouse gas emissions, reduce costs and create more efficient facilities.

To reduce energy use, each of our sites follows the seven steps of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Guidelines for Energy Management:

  • Step 1: Make commitment;
  • Step 2: Assess performance;
  • Step 3: Set goals;
  • Step 4: Create action plan;
  • Step 5: Implement action plan;
  • Step 6: Evaluate progress; and
  • Step 7: Recognize achievements.

These efforts are supported by an internal online site for sharing energy management training documentation, tools, resources and best practices. In addition, our tracking system helps us gauge performance on a timely basis.

Our locations have been successful in reducing their energy usage by following the ENERGY STAR guidelines and through the commitment of our people to reduce energy in the workplace, from turning off the lights to installing energy-efficient equipment. Their work and our movement to a lower energy-intensive product mix were the factors behind achieving our original 2020 energy-reduction goal five years ahead of the deadline.

In 2016, the sale of our energy-intensive flat glass and European fiber glass businesses and several acquisitions of coatings companies continued our trend of significantly lowering our energy intensity through shifts in our product mix. Becoming a lower-energy-intensive company reduces our greenhouse gas emissions, energy costs and risk of being impacted by increased global regulation of carbon emissions.

Our energy intensity in 2016 was 4.33 million British thermal units (BTUs) per metric ton of production, a 17 percent decrease over 2015 and a 36 percent decline since 2012. We also saw corresponding reductions in our direct (19 percent) and indirect (12 percent) energy intensities compared to 2015.

When we exclude our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses, our energy intensity was 3.38 BTUs per metric ton of production in 2016. This represents a 13 percent decrease compared to 2015 and a 33 percent reduction from 2012.

To continue reducing our energy usage, we set a new goal in 2016 that calls for a 25 percent reduction in our greenhouse gas intensity by 2020 from a 2012 baseline. Energy consumption directly impacts the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.

In 2016, we tasked each location to help us meet this new global goal by creating an energy matrix and updated action plan by year’s end to identify and capture additional energy efficiencies.

Statistics

Energy Intensity

Million BTUs per metric ton of production

Year Total Direct Indirect
2012 6.75 4.78 1.96
2013 6.15 4.35 1.80
2014 5.67 3.99 1.69
2015 5.20 3.57 1.63
2016 4.33 2.90 1.43

Direct energy consumption is the amount of primary energy we combust on site. Our direct energy sources may include coal, natural gas, fuel distilled from crude oil, propane, biofuels, ethanol and hydrogen. Indirect energy refers to the energy we consume that is generated by external suppliers. We consume indirect energy through electricity, heat, steam and electricity generated from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind.

Energy Intensity Excluding Flat Glass and European Fiber Glass Businesses

Million BTUs per metric ton of production

Year Total Direct Indirect
2012 5.02 2.98 2.04
2013 4.40 2.63 1.77
2014 4.08 2.20 1.88
2015 3.88 2.32 1.56
2016 3.38 1.99 1.39

We sold our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses in 2016.

Initiative improves fuel efficiency of global shipping

Our operations use various modes of transportation to ship outbound finished goods to customers, inbound raw materials from suppliers and intercompany transfers. Fuel efficiency ranges from poor (airplanes) to good (ocean vessels).

In 2016, our Global Supply Management Logistics group launched an initiative in North America to lower costs, increase fuel efficiency and reduce environmental emissions through best practices in logistics. Achievements through year’s end included:

  • Reducing global next-day parcel shipments by 71 percent and heavy air shipments by 28 percent.
  • Increasing the conversion of truckloads to intermodal shipments by 106 percent.
  • Reducing empty miles by 13.6 percent through the securement of backhaul shipments.
  • Encouraging key carriers to become more fuel-efficient by minimizing idling, using lighter equipment, improving truck aerodynamics and planning more efficient routes.
  • Reducing the number of trucks needed to haul freight by more than 3,000 loads by consolidating shipments and improving the utilization of truck weight capacity.

Operational cost savings due to these initiatives totaled more than $7 million in 2016.

Multi-year effort reduces energy usage 20 percent at Denmark facility

A team effort to reduce energy use at our architectural coatings facility in Søborg, Denmark, helped the site save more than 2.5 million kilowatt hours since 2012—a 20 percent reduction.

A major change was shifting from a natural gas heating system to one that uses heated water from a biomass-heated power plant. Additional efforts included an overhaul of the ventilation system, added insulation, new LED lighting, double-plated glass throughout the building and the installation of a computerized system to optimize energy management.

 

German locations earn ISO 50001 certification

Eight of our locations in Germany have been certified to ISO 50001 for their energy management systems. Three of the sites achieved the certification in 2014, with the remaining securing it in 2016.

To earn the certification, each site had to develop a policy for more efficient use of energy, fix targets and objectives to meet the policy, use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use, measure the results, review how well the policy works and continually improve energy management.

Saving energy through process changes

Through innovative process changes, our automotive coatings plant in Wuhu, China, reduced its energy intensity by 3 percent in 2016 compared to the prior year.

Major projects included:

  • Converting from electrode-drum heating to water film to achieve required spray-booth humidity;
  • Replacing boiler heating with hot water recycled from production to provide periodic heating in a raw materials warehouse; and
  • Decreasing the temperature of certain cooling water by running it through the condensing tower instead of special cooling machinery.

In addition to saving 71,520 kilowatt hours, the improvements provided $11,140 in cost savings.

Felizzano plant reduces energy intensity by 3 percent

Installing new equipment and implementing process changes led to a 3 percent reduction in energy intensity at our industrial coatings facility in Felizzano, Italy, in 2016.

The facility installed a more energy-efficient water chiller and transfer pump, increased preventive maintenance to boost performance and reduce energy consumption on various production equipment and reduced rework in the finished goods area.

Lighting retrofits shine spotlight on energy efficiency

Our locations around the world are retrofitting their facilities with more energy-efficient lighting systems.

Switching to LED lighting in 2016 helped the following locations reduce both energy consumption and costs:

  • Two distribution centers and our Comex headquarters, all of which are part of our architectural coatings business in Mexico, are saving 608,600 kilowatt hours and nearly $60,000 annually.
  • In Australia, our automotive refinish facility in Clayton is saving more than 760,000 kilowatt hours and $76,000 annually..
  • Our industrial coatings location in Gainesville, Texas, saw its energy intensity drop 12.2 percent compared to 2015..

Additional lighting projects implemented at other locations achieved similar success.

Energy reductions heat up savings in Spain

Using the heat produced in an air compressor to heat and store deionized water is saving 362,000 kilowatt hours and $42,210 per year at our automotive OEM coatings facility in Valencia, Spain.

The project is the first in a long-term initiative to capture and reuse heat produced at various points in the manufacturing process.

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