Saint-Gobain, through its building products subsidiary CertainTeed LLC, has installed a smart water submetering system and upgraded equipment at its siding plant in Jackson, Michigan, reducing the site’s consumption of water by more than 9 million gallons per year, a reduction of more than 50 percent compared to 2019 levels.
The project comes as Saint-Gobain continues to implement its global Grow and Impact strategy, which includes ambitious environmental sustainability goals, such as reducing the company’s industrial water withdrawal by 50 percent by 2030.
In Jackson, CertainTeed uses process water to cool vinyl siding products manufactured on-site, including its Northwoods Perfection and Rough-Split Shingle lines, vinyl siding that recreates the natural textures and patterns of cedar shakes and shingles. Recycled water is additionally used in vacuum pumps, key to specific steps in the manufacturing process.
The system, which captures nearly 100 percent of all water that flows through the site, works by allowing the plant to more closely manage how much water is used at each step in the manufacturing process. An alert system, developed by early career participants in Saint-Gobain’s Essentials of Manufacturing Development Program, helps to notify the Jackson team of leaks and accidental overuse so that they can be pinpointed and fixed quickly. The plant has also invested in a closed loop system for its vacuum pumps, which allows the facility to reuse the water needed for its production process.
“With this smart water submetering system, our Jackson plant has shown how equipment optimization and enhanced technology can have a huge impact,” said Joe Bondi, Vice President and General Manager of CertainTeed Sidings Product Group. “I would like to thank each member of the team for their help in achieving our industrial water withdrawal reduction goals and for their commitment to sustainability and minimizing our environmental footprint.”
In 1988, CertainTeed Siding began operations in Jackson, about 80 miles west of Detroit and where Saint-Gobain also operates a Research and Development Center. Today, the plant is home to 230 employees and is hiring for several roles in engineering, administration and operations. A complete list of job openings at all Saint-Gobain locations, including the CertainTeed site in Jackson, can be found on the company’s website.
The investment in water-saving technology in Jackson follows several other recent actions taken by the company to solidify its commitment towards sustainability:
- In April, CertainTeed Canada surpassed 1 million tonnes of gypsum recycled and returned to production at its Vancouver plant.
- In February, Saint-Gobain, through its building products subsidiary CertainTeed Roofing, acquired the rights to technology from recycling partner Asphaltica that will allow the company to recycle asphalt shingle waste, diverting it from landfill and furthering the company’s commitment to creating a circular economy in its production of roofing shingles.
- In December, Saint-Gobain announced the launch of a recycling program at two locations in California, where windshield glass scraps from the company’s Sekurit facility will be recycled and reused in the production of insulation.
- In November, Saint-Gobain announced technology upgrades at its CertainTeed Roofing plant in Shakopee, Minnesota, which are projected to save 5,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year.
- In October, Saint-Gobain and Total Energies signed a 10-year renewable electricity supply agreement expected to offset nearly 33 percent of Saint-Gobain North America’s Scope 2 emissions from electricity, and the company started up operations at its new electrical powerhouse on its flagship campus in Worcester, Massachusetts, which is projected to reduce the site’s carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent.