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Shaw Contract’s manufacturing goes carbon neutral globally

Jul 13, 2018
  • Article by Online Editor

Shaw Contract has recently announced that all of its commercial carpet manufacturing facilities worldwide are now carbon neutral.

But what is carbon neutrality, and how will it contribute to the overall sustainability of the built environment? ADR caught up with Tim Conway, vice president of sustainability for Shaw’s commercial division to find out more about carbon neutral manufacturing and how it works.

“At Shaw, we believe in creating a better future. We understand the challenges of climate change are global in scale and require a global response,” says Conway. “No one company can solve problems at this scale by itself, but we can each contribute to an effort that enables all of us to create a wave of change for the better. What we manufacture and the spaces our clients design make an impact. By reducing Shaw’s carbon footprint, we reduce the impact of what we create together.”

Read on for a Q&A with Shaw Contract below:

What are Greenhouse Gas emissions?

The term Greenhouse Gas emissions – also referred to as GHGs – is often used interchangeably with carbon emissions because carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions. Methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are also GHGs. Collectively, these are the gases that trap the sun’s radiation, making the earth warmer and contributing to climate change.

What is carbon neutrality? What does carbon neutral mean?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases are generated as people and companies consume energy. For example, when we run manufacturing processes and operate our buildings (lights, heat, air conditioning, etc).

Achieving carbon neutrality for our commercial carpet manufacturing operations means our net carbon footprint is zero. The amount of carbon emissions being generated by our actions have been reduced to zero by improving our operational efficiency, switching to cleaner fuel sources, purchasing renewable energy credits and carbon offset credits to offset the emissions we have not yet been able to remove from our operations by other measures.

How did Shaw Contract achieve carbon neutrality?

We achieved carbon neutrality through four key steps:

  • Improving the efficiency of our manufacturing (using less energy)
  • Switching to cleaner fuels (primarily natural gas)
  • Creating clean energy through production of on-site renewable energy
  • Investing in renewable energy and carbon offset credits to offset the balance of our emissions.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is derived from natural processes (e.g. sunlight and wind) that are replenished at a faster rate than they are consumed. Solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and some forms of biomass are common sources of renewable energy.

Renewable energy is typically considered ‘net zero‘ for GHG emissions. Therefore, the use of renewable energy use can help reduce a company’s carbon footprint.

What are renewable energy credits?

A renewable energy credits (RECs) represent the environmental benefits associated with producing 1 megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity without burning fossil fuels. Each REC is independently tracked and accounted for. Purchasing RECs supports clean energy production.The purchase of Green-e® certified RECs equivalent to our annual energy use achieves our goal of 100% renewable energy for our commercial carpet manufacturing operations.

What are carbon offset credits?

Carbon offset credits can be purchased to offset the greenhouse gas emissions a company has not yet removed from its operations. Carbon offset projects that reduce or eliminate GHG emissions go through a rigorous 3rd party verification process.

What facilities/processes/operations does this include?

All commercial carpet manufacturing facilities in the U.S., our carpet tile manufacturing plant in China, and our recently acquired operations in Scotland.

What does this mean for design?

Shaw Contract is committed to delivering products to our clients that have a positive effect on the health of our population and our planet. Not only are our commercial carpet products made using healthy & safe ingredients, they are also made in carbon neutral manufacturing facilities.

It’s all part of our commitment to Cradle to Cradle principles, which focus not only on material health and recycling but energy, water and social responsibility.

Going forward our carbon strategy will continue to focus on:

  • Improving the efficiency of our manufacturing (using less energy)
  • Switching to cleaner fuels
  • Creating clean energy through production of on-site renewable energy
  • Investing in renewable energy and carbon credits to offset the balance of our emissions

For more information on Shaw Contract sustainability initiatives, click here.

Shaw Contract is an ADR content partner

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