With your merger now complete, where is Huntsman Building Solutions headed?
Huntsman Building Solutions, over time, will become a broader platform. Spray foam insulation and spray foam roofing solutions are primary in our business. However, we do intend to continue to expand the platform by introducing additional sustainable and innovative building material technologies and solutions.
Spray foam insulation use has been rapidly growing across both the residential and commercial sectors over the past decade. To what do you attribute this growth and where is the demand coming from?
Homeowners are much more educated now about the value of the technologies within their homes. They are looking for sustainable solutions, they want to reduce their impact on the environment, and they want more reliability and consistency in their energy bills and comfort levels. As a result, spray foam insulation has truly become a mainstream product. We’ve reached a point now where spray foam insulation is used in custom homes, as well as spec homes at all levels and price points. Right now, during COVID-19, there’s an even greater focus on space, comfort and cost.
Homeowners are looking to move into single family homes outside of concentrated areas and high-density living such as apartments. The homeowner awareness of the return on investment of spray foam, including better air quality and greater comfort, is driving increased demand for spray foam insulation solutions.
Your platform is undoubtedly larger and more powerful, having brought Icynene-Lapolla and Demilec together to form an insulation market leader. How are you ensuring your customers are getting the same attention and service they used to?
We have integrated and capitalized on the best practices originating from the two legacy companies, Icynene-Lapolla and Demilec. As it turns out, there was a meaningful alignment in philosophy (or customer-centricity) between the combined company leadership and teams about customer service and technical services surrounding our customers. While we have undergone an integration, we’ve also ramped up our offerings within technical, engineering and architectural services, as well as additional services we provide customers. We’ve essentially doubled down in this area and will continue to do so as service is extremely important to us. Technology and quality solutions are imperative, but we believe exceptional service and customer experience is a differentiator for us.
How has COVID-19 affected your business and how are you working around it?
Initially there was a brief slowdown, however activity very quickly ramped back up. We are feeling very optimistic about the direction of the marketplace. Again, because of the virus people are spending a lot of time at home and many believe there’s a likelihood that they will continue working remotely. Thus, families are looking for more comfortable living spaces with cleaner air, less air leakage, and lower energy bills.
Spray foam insulation plays a strong role in these areas. While COVID-19 has been challenging for all.
Can you tell us about environmental stewardship and efforts to combat plastic waste?
Safety is always number one in the company’s culture. But secondly, on an environmental basis, we have proprietary technology that allows us to recycle PET—essentially plastic water bottles—and transition those materials into polyols which are the backbone of our spray foam technology. We prevent a portion of the plastic waste generated by homes and businesses from reaching landfills and oceans. We then recycle the plastic waste into polyol technology that is used to manufacture world-leading spray foam insulation.
All of that value mentioned occurs prior to the installation, which is where we believe the greatest value comes from. Once spray foam is installed, it gives consumers greater comfort, enables a meaningful reduction in energy usage and reduces carbon footprint.
How much energy conserving insulation are you generating annually from the effort and how does that equate to additional earth saving benefits? Also, what is the benefit of this initiative to your business?
Annually we transform approximately 1 billion 500 ml PET waste-water bottles into 50 million pounds of TEROL polyols, a major component of our high performance spray foam insulation. The process each year gives us the ability to insulate more than 67,000 homes, each of which can achieve up to a 50 percent reduction in energy consumption resulting from heating and cooling activities. This measurable reduction in energy consumption goes a long way toward dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of the homes.
We are currently working with numerous countries to help them clean up their plastic waste. While a benefit to the environment, this is also a win-win for our business as it gives us greater access to PET feed stock for both our recycling and product manufacturing operations. Ultimately, it’s good business to clean the planet and to create a positive technology in the process that continues to protect the environment.
How is the company integration coming?
It is coming along well. We’ve wasted no time in uniting our two teams and in forging a stronger and better company. We are quickly moving globally to bring our technology to the world.