Kingspan is a global leader in sustainable, innovative building solutions with a mission to help organizations ‘Build a Better Way’. In 2011, the company set an ambitious goal to achieve Net Zero Energy by 2020. Building Technology Director Brent Trenga sat with us at the 2017 Perspectives Summit in Nashville to elaborate on Kingspan’s goal setting process, as well as their rapid progress over the past 5 years.
When Kingspan began setting goals in 2011, was a central vision agreed upon?
Yes. Kingspan established a top-down vision to be a sustainable leader in the construction space and meet all energy needs through renewables by 2020. Our aim was to achieve this goal both ethically (in that we all have a responsibility to take climate action) and through our product offerings. Kingspan is uniquely positioned to lead the sustainability market with our products, and simultaneously prove the business case for taking bold action.
What has Kingspan achieved since establishing its net zero energy by 2020 goal?
In addition to our primary goal of reaching net zero energy by 2020, we set an interim target of 50% by 2016. We exceeded this target, and we reached 57% renewable energy globally at the close of 2016. We also realized reductions in energy intensity, carbon intensity, and electricity costs through the process. There is a good amount of work ahead, but we have a great team and a strategic plan in place to achieve our target.
What challenges have you faced, thus far, in reaching your goal?
Kingspan operates in over 100 countries around the world, and we’ve had 11 new acquisitions since declaring our commitment in 2011. The challenge has been that our goal has stayed the same, all while 63 new manufacturing facilities have been added to our footprint. We have adopted the same practices and methodologies of reducing energy and generating electricity more efficiently across every single one of those new locations. It’s working, and we continue to make progress towards achieving our overall goal.
What guiding principles keep Kingspan on track of achieving its 2020 target?
Three guiding principles are core to our strategic plan: reduce demand, generate energy through renewable sources, and supply any remaining demand through responsible sources. As each of our facilities are different, sometimes an individual plan of action is needed for each one. However, these three principles remain central. More importantly, the people are critical to the success of these initiatives. Some of the best ideas for managing energy have originated with our employees, and their full engagement has been crucial to our progress.
Kingspan was an early adopter of the RE100. Can you tell us more about this commitment?
The company’s commitment to the RE100 was a vision of our CEO, Gene Murtagh. After we pledged net zero energy by 2020, it was a logical step for us to join the RE100 and its community of organizations committed to 100% renewable power. Becoming a part of the RE100 brought additional life to our goal, and it also anchored a good timeline for us to achieve our targets at a global level.
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