Saint-Gobain, through its building products subsidiary CertainTeed Canada Inc., announced plans to invest $91 Million CAD, including $40 Million CAD in grant money from the government of Quebec, via its EcoPerformance program, to upgrade equipment at its Montreal wallboard manufacturing facility and reduce its carbon emissions by up to 44,000 metric tonnes/year, creating the first zero-carbon drywall plant in North America. The reduction in emissions associated with the equipment upgrades at the plant is the equivalent of removing 9,500 cars from the road.

The equipment upgrades will also reduce the site’s energy usage by 30 percent, creating one of the most energy-efficient wallboard plants in the world, and the plant will transition away from using fossil fuels to solely being powered by renewable electricity from Hydro-Québec.

Additionally, the upgrades will increase the Montreal plant’s production capacity by up to 40 percent, allowing CertainTeed to deepen the company’s commitment to the construction industry in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and eastern Ontario.

The ambitious project comes as Saint-Gobain continues to roll out its new global Grow and Impact strategy, which includes plans to reduce the company’s energy consumption and emissions. The company has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

All of the production equipment at the Montreal plant that is currently powered by natural gas will be upgraded to newer equipment powered by renewably-sourced electricity. These upgrades will allow the manufacturing operations at the plant to achieve carbon neutrality. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2023 and the new equipment will come online in late 2024.

“Today we begin a historic new chapter at our Montreal gypsum plant, leading our industry towards a more sustainable future while increasing our production capacity at a time of unprecedented customer demand,” said Dennis Wilson, Vice President Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) North America and Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Circular Economy Solutions. “We thank our partners in the Quebec Government, the City of Saint-Catherine and Hydro-Québec for their support, and we thank our team for pushing the limits of technology and imagination to bring this bold project to life. The electrification of our Montreal plant is a massive step forward in our broader goal to decarbonize construction materials and a significant step towards our global goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.”

Ville de Sainte-Catherine Mayor, Jocelyne Bates, commented:

“CertainTeed is an important industrial player, who provides quality jobs and has been involved in the well-being of our community for almost 50 years. It is a source of pride to see it continue to grow by undertaking this zero-carbon shift. Through this strategic investment in innovative technologies, CertainTeed embodies and concretizes the founding principles of our Sustainable Development Policy. On behalf of the City Council, I would like to highlight its leadership in the fight against climate change and invite our entire business community to discover the sustainable economic development opportunities offered by the adoption of eco-responsible business practices and clean technology.”

Geneviève Fournier, Vice President, Marketing and Customer Experience at Hydro-Québec, commented:

“Hydro-Québec is delighted that its green energy will be used to decarbonize CertainTeed Canada’s Sainte-Catherine plant. We are proud to support our partner and contribute to electrifying Québec and accelerating the energy transition.”

The equipment upgrades in Montreal are the culmination of nearly two years of project design, engineering and planning by the company’s sustainability, engineering and operations teams in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

CertainTeed’s Montreal plant began operations in 1973 and sits on 15 hectares of land along the St. Lawrence River in Ville Sainte-Catherine, Quebec. The plant is home to approximately 120 employees.

This project will lead to the creation of several new full-time jobs at the plant, including roles in engineering, operations and supply chain. A complete listing of open roles at all Saint-Gobain locations, including the CertainTeed location in Montreal, can be found on the company’s careers website.

The electrification project in Montreal follows several other recent actions taken by the company to solidify its commitment towards sustainability:

• In March, Saint-Gobain North America announced it would install heat recovery technology at its CertainTeed gypsum manufacturing site in Vancouver, British Columbia, which will reduce the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10% and improve its energy efficiency.

• In May, Saint-Gobain announced its newly installed recycling technology at its gypsum wallboard plant in Nashville, Arkansas, would save 65,000 tons of material per year from landfill.

• In April, Saint-Gobain entered into a recycling partnership at its SageGlass electrochromic glass production site in Faribault, Minnesota, saving 1,000 tons of material per year from landfill over the next five years.

• In March, Saint-Gobain announced that through its virtual Power Purchase Agreement with the Blooming Grove Wind Farm in McLean County, Illinois, and additional renewables contracting, the company received renewable energy certificates that effectively reduced approximately 33% of its CO2 emissions from electricity usage in 2021 in the United States and Canada.

• In February, the company invested $32 Million to upgrade equipment at its insulation plant in Chowchilla, California, reducing the facility’s carbon footprint by more than 4,000 metric tons per year.

• In January, Saint-Gobain North America donated a zero energy ready house in Canton, Ohio, made with more than 20 of its own products, to Habitat for Humanity.