Saint-Gobain upgrading Energy Efficiency with new equipment at Minnesota plant

Dec. 1, 2022
The upgrade is expected to save more than 5,000 MWh of electricity annually and reduce CO2 emissions. Work includes installation of three energy-efficient air compressors with control functions, two new refrigerant air dryers and a new hot oil heater

Saint-Gobain North America, which has made multiple moves to cut its on-site carbon footprint in manufacturing, has upgraded the equipment at its roofing plant in Shakopee, Minnesota through its building products subsidiary CertainTeed.

The equipment upgrade is expected to save more than 5,000 MWh of electricity annually and reduce carbon emissions. The upgrades include the installation of three energy-efficient air compressors with control functions, two new refrigerant air dryers and a new hot oil heater.

An additional hot oil heater will be replaced later in 2022, bringing in additional energy savings.

“As we continue our leadership in light and sustainable construction, we must continuously work to minimize the environmental footprint of our production processes,” said Carmen Bodden, Vice President and General Manager of CertainTeed Roofing Product Group. “These upgrades in Shakopee are an excellent example of how Saint-Gobain prioritizes energy efficiency while working to make the world a better home.”

Among the recent sustainability actions the firm has taken are the signing of a 10-year renewable electricity supply agreement and reclaiming of waste gypsum wallboard for reuse as feedstock in production.

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The global building materials and manufacturing firm has made at least five energy efficiency moves at its plants in North America over the past year. Saint-Gobain installed variable frequency drive and grinding control technologies at its wallboard subsidiary CertainTeed’s New York gypsum plant, as well as investing to reduce energy consumption at other facilities in Montreal and Vancouver.

“The first stop on the path to Net Zero is energy efficiency,” Saint-Gobain’s executive Dennis Wilson said earlier this year.

In an interview with EnergyTech earlier this year, Wilson, who is managing director of the company’s Circular Economy Solutions and vice president of ESG goal-making, said he sees no “silver bullet” to achieving Net Zero emissions goals within the coming decades. The alternative is to do many things.

Sustainability is really about resource efficiency,” Wilson said. “The companies which manage resources are better performers. This isn’t a flavor of the month.”

About the Author

Rod Walton, EnergyTech Managing Editor | Senior Editor

For EnergyTech editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

Rod Walton has spent 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. He formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

Walton earned his Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. His career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World. 

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

He was named Managing Editor for Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech starting July 1, 2023

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.