Since 2010, Owens Corning has made significant progress against our second set of 10-year environmental footprint goals, but our work is not done. We continue to look for opportunities to shrink our environmental footprint through continuous reduction of resource use and environmental emissions from our operations.

In October of 2015, we announced we had met our greenhouse gas and toxic air emissions goals ahead of schedule. We decided to increase our 2020 commitments of 50 percent and 75 percent reductions for these environmental impacts respectively, and incorporated science-based greenhouse gas target-setting methodology into our strategy. While we’ve met or made steady progress on five of our six 2020 footprint goals, we continue to be challenged by our waste-to-landfill goal.

More details about our footprint reduction strategy and progress is available in our annual Sustainability Report (PDF).

We focus on six key aspects:

Primary Energy

We take a holistic approach to energy management, encompassing product development, manufacturing, operations worldwide, and all levels of our workforce. Our strategy revolves around developing innovative, energy-saving products and implementing programs aimed at reducing our energy usage and shifting toward renewable energy sources. We ensure that the total energy needed to generate, transmit, and distribute electricity from the power generation source to the end user (referred to as primary energy) is factored into the company’s energy consumption metrics.

Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Emissions

We believe that the impact of human activity on global climate change is an ongoing challenge, requiring the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) around the world. Recognizing the variety of activities both upstream and downstream of our operations, we follow multiple approaches to determine the amount of GHG emissions generated throughout our value chain – and seek innovative ways to reduce GHG from our own operations.

Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Emissions

Owens Corning is committed to reducing its impact on the environment through many mechanisms and is committed to the reduction of PM2.5 emissions at its facilities globally. Particulate Matter is the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air while PM2.5 is those particles that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller.

Toxic Air Emissions (TAE)

Owens Corning defines Toxic Air Emissions to include the following: hexavalent chromium, formaldehyde, manganese, polycyclic aromatic compounds and ammonia. This shift in focus for air emissions acknowledges our past successes and our concern for pollutants that carry greater air quality concerns.


Waste to landfill reduction is our largest challenge. Our businesses are continually seeking opportunities to reduce waste at the facility level and their performance is being reported at the enterprise level. To achieve our targets, we conduct periodic reviews to assess the progress and take necessary corrective actions.


Owens Corning relies on high-quality water for many of its manufacturing processes. However, several factors, including regional water scarcity, limited water availability, and rising water costs, pose risks for our operations and business expansion plans. We are committed to minimizing water consumption and potential contamination from the production, use, and disposal of our product.

Environmental Footprint Reduction Goals and Progress

The company's six aspects are shown in the footprint graphic below. The 2010 baseline year is shown as the dark blue outside border of the spider chart, representing 100 percent of each aspect. The pink center footprint indicates the company's 10-year intensity goals. The light blue footprint represents our status at the end of 2017.

Environmental Footprint 2020 Goal 2010 - 2018 Progress
Energy (Primary) 20% intensity reduction 31% intensity reduction
Energy (Consumed) No intensity goal 18% intensity reduction
Greenhouse Gas GHG 50% intensity reduction 48% intensity reduction
Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) 15% intensity reduction 29% intensity reduction
Toxic Air Emissions (TAE) 75% intensity reduction 59% intensity reduction
Waste to Landfill 70% intensity reduction 6% intensity reduction
Water Consumption 35% intensity reduction 42% intensity reduction

Actual Environmental Impacts, 2010 and 2018

This table shows the actual values of the monitored parameters in 2010 and 2018.

Emission or Resource
Year Consumed Energy
(millions of MwH)
(millions of TPY)
PM 2.5
(thousands of TPY)
Waste to Landfill
(thousands of TPY)
(millions of m3)
2010 9.8 5.1 2.4 1.2 312.9 12.4
2018 10.6 3.8 2.3 0.7 366.5 11.3

Primary Energy — Total energy required to generate, transmit, and distribute electricity from the power generation source as well as energy sources used onsite such as fossil fuels

Consumed Energy — Energy used onsite such as the electricity consumed on site and fossil fuel usage

GHG — Greenhouse gases, defined as gases which contribute toward the Greenhouse effect, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, HFCs, and HCFCs

PM 2.5 Fine particulate matter is the fraction of particulate matter that has a mean diameter of less than or equal to 2.5 micrometers.

TAE— A combined reduction with equal weighting for the five top constituents chosen which include Hexavalent Chromium, Formaldehyde, Manganese, Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, and Ammonia.
Waste-to-Landfill — all types of solid wastes going to landfill for disposal

Water — Water that enters the plant; sources include local utilities and wells

TPY — Metric tons per year

m3 Cubic Meters

MwH — Megawatt hours


Intensity is normalized based on product produced.

For more information on our programs and efforts related to our goals view our annual Sustainability Report (PDF).