Product Sustainability

Owens Corning aspires to be a net positive company through strategic collaborations, intentional decision making, and effective corporate guidance.

Our people and products make the world a better place. This is a statement we live by every day in working to make our products more sustainable and meet the needs of an ever more demanding marketplace.

Our biggest impact comes through the products we offer and the way they are used. We look to provide products that save energy, contribute to good living environments, are safe to use and have an end of life that is regenerative. Our supply chain is diverse and complex. Social and environmental impacts happen at every stage of every product’s lifecycle. Over the years, we have worked on product attributes that improve the sustainability of our products and pursued certifications to communicate that improvement to our stakeholders.

Transparency

Transparency is important in providing our customers and specifiers information about our products. Owens Corning uses third-party organizations to test, assess and certify or describe product attributes in order for our customers and stakeholders to understand the environmental and human health impacts of our products.

The following are the description of several transparency paths used for Owens Corning products.

Life Cycle Assessments

Owens Corning met the goal to make transparent the total life cycle assessment (LCA) of all core products by 2015. These include its fiberglass, mineral wool, extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam insulation, cellular glass insulation, roofing shingles as well as composite glass product offerings, which encompass reinforcements, non-woven mats and technical fabrics.

Performing LCAs on many of our core products has identified and allowed improvements in processes that maximize their positive environmental impacts. Full cradle-to-grave assessments examine all stages of a product’s life, starting with the extraction of raw material inputs, continuing through processing, manufacturing and product use and ending with disposal or recycling.

Owens Corning co-chaired the committee that provided life cycle inventory data on composite processes that can be used by the public for further life cycle assessment studies. The data submitted to the U.S. public database at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) included information on E-glass, Unsaturated Polyester Resins (UPR) and five types of composite conversion processes.

Owens Corning was a major glass-manufacturing participant in the life cycle assessment of CFGF – Continuous Filament Glass Fibre Products. The GlassFibreEurope, the European Glass Fibre Producers Association, commissioned this study. A database on European manufacturing for various composite glass products is now publicly available.

Owens Corning’s advocacy efforts include membership on the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA). ACLCA is a nonprofit membership organization advancing the science and application of LCA to build capacity, drive development and connect the LCA community to achieve environmental sustainability.

Buyers are increasingly demanding to know the full extent of a product's environmental impact. From raw material extraction, production and packaging to distribution, and end use and disposal. Transparency into the impacts of a product at each stage of its life cycle has become a critical driver of purchases and specifications.

Products Made with 100% Wind-Powered Electricity and Reduced Embodied Carbon

Owens Corning® signed power purchase agreements in 2015 which resulted in new wind capacity in Texas and Oklahoma, generating 1.1 million megawatt hours of electricity per year. The generated electricity enabled Owens Corning® to bring to the market, the first ever insulation products to have met the requirements of SCS Global Services’ certification protocol to validate that the electricity used to make them is 100% wind powered, which in turn, reduces their carbon footprint. The certified insulation products, made with 100% wind energy, gives architects and specifiers, builders, and even homeowners the option of lower-carbon products to build greener structures. For architects, the products will help them design buildings with reduced life cycle impact and achieve the recognized goals of the Architecture 2030 Challenge and U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification. A simple explanation of the certification and its benefits is also available through a supporting video.

The three types of insulation available for specification and purchase upon request are shown below. More products could be certified for specifications and purchase upon request.

  • EcoTouch® Insulation
  • Thermafiber® RainBarrier® Continuous Insulation
  • Unbonded Loosefill Insulation

Requests for and more information about these products should be directed to sustainability@owenscorning.com. For information about the third-party verification process, please visit www.scsglobalservices.com.

Product Innovation

At Owens Corning we are committed to innovation and value creation. We listen to our customers and work to deliver what is valued – strong product performance and the introduction of relevant, new, best-in-class products and solutions supported by world-class technical expertise.

With eight global research and development centers located in key markets, we invest to ensure we deliver products and solutions focused on optimizing the role of our products in our customer’s value chain. Through this focus, we work with our customers to deliver increased competitiveness through product redesign or productivity improvements. We offer one of the strongest technical teams in the industry to develop new products, solutions and applications.

All new and significantly modified existing products sold by Owens Corning undergo a comprehensive product stewardship review to ensure that they perform as claimed and are both safe and environmentally sound to make, use and dispose. We have conducted more than 1,260 reviews since 1997 and more than 970 since 2006, when the product stewardship program became a mandatory element of Owens Corning’s Business Code of Conduct Policy. Product reviews address all elements of Owens Corning’s Environmental, Health, Safety and Product Stewardship Policy, and are carried out by highly qualified Product Stewardship Review Board members. Reviews are conducted at various stages, including the design, development, and test market, manufacture and distribution phases.

The product stewardship process is also utilized to evaluate and approve opportunities for recycling of materials, which includes products manufactured and/or sold by Owens Corning and the waste material generated from the manufacturing of Owens Corning products that are re-used (recycled) for other than their intended use.

Fiber Safety

We often are asked about the safety of glass fibers. Be assured that this topic has been a subject of research and stewardship and fiberglass materials are safe to manufacture, use and dispose of in accordance with our use recommendations.

Sustainability Mapping Tool

As part of the product stewardship process, developers are asked to complete a questionnaire that generates a sustainability map of the product throughout its life cycle. The Owens Corning Sustainability Mapping Tool is used to evaluate how the new product or process will impact the Company’s sustainability goals and to drive decisions in the design phase that will achieve a portfolio of more sustainable products.

During 2017, we updated the Sustainability Mapping Tool to categorize questions based on their areas of impact: the Company’s footprint, the remainder of a product’s total life cycle footprint and the product’s handprint. The new graphical output allows product designers to better understand what parts of the product’s life cycle are impacted by changes to items evaluated by the tool.

Life Cycle Mapping

Summary reports from these assessments identifying trends and opportunities are published internally on a quarterly basis. In 2017, our efforts to meet these objectives throughout our manufacturing footprint resulted in benefits such as lower plant air emissions, lower material consumption, and higher process efficiencies, and these results contribute to our footprint reduction progress. We introduced new product designs that use less material, improve final product durability and result in less energy usage for the end user. We have also identified the high-impact raw materials so we can work with suppliers to reduce their footprint, in turn having a positive impact on our product footprint.

Recycling

Owens Corning is one of the largest users of recycled glass in the world, using over 1 billion pounds annually of curbside consumer containers and pre-consumer recycled glass.

Learn more about our recycling efforts for glass and other products.