One of the most important issues currently under debate is the environment and it is the one issue that affects us all, no matter what industry we operate in. The recently published Stern Review has painted a bleak view of the future if we do not regulate the energy we use. It suggests that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%, but by taking action now this could be reduced to just 1%.
Given these startling estimates the Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF) has decided to act and is launching the first ever environmental initiative for the glazing industry, called ‘Project Green’.
Rick Wilberforce, President of the GGF, is launching the initiative. He comments; “No industry can afford to sit back and think global warming isn’t its concern. Everyone has a duty to do something. In our case we are fortunate, because the products we make and sell – Energy Efficient Windows – are hugely beneficial to the environment. Therefore, Project Green will quantify and promote these benefits – to the building industry, individual householders and to the government. The objectives are to increase sales and to obtain favourable legislative changes. But we also need to examine our own environmental performance. As an industry we feel it is imperative to help our members reduce their carbon footprint. This should not only help our members to save money, but will demonstrate our genuine commitment to the environment.”
The reason Energy Efficient Windows (EEWs) can make such an impact is revealed in the government’s recent Energy Review:
UK Homes unnecessarily emit 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 and waste £370m per annum, through poorly insulated windows.
Homes are responsible for 28% of all UK CO2 emissions (compared to 5.5% for air travel)
Non-Energy Efficient Windows are responsible for 20% of all heat loss.
The aim of ‘Project Green’ is to increase awareness of EEWs and drive sales by demonstrating how they can benefit the environment and potentially save consumers money.
“At a time when the replacement window market seems to have slowed there is an immense need to change this trend,” comments Rick Wilberforce. “To do this the GGF will be embarking on a proactive national and regional press campaign to reach consumers. We will be looking to raise awareness of EEWs, educating consumers about the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC) ratings system and providing them with all the facts and figures they need to make informed choices when purchasing glazing products. "
“We will demonstrate how EEWs can not only reduce CO2 emissions, but also save money on energy bills. For example, current (2004) annual carbon emissions from an average dwelling are 1.6 tonnes. (Source: The 2006 Domestic Energy Fact File - BRE). Installing EEWs would reduce the emissions of a single glazed dwelling by 18% and cut the householder’s fuel bill by around £157.00 per year.” (Source: Pilkington WER Calculator).
To provide a framework for ‘Project Green’ - and more importantly, to practise what it is preaching - the GGF will also be establishing its own environmental credentials and that of its members. It is launching an internal campaign to investigate ways the industry as a whole can become more environmentally aware and to position the Federation, its Members and their products as positive contributors to the environment. It will look at fenestration products from raw materials, through production, service life and recycling to show the full effect of the complete life of the product, the effects on the environment and the energy efficiency potential.
To kick off the campaign internally the GGF is conducting a detailed survey among its members to acquire data relating to recycling activities and will use the results to suggest improvements and increase overall energy efficiency. It is also in discussions with Envirowise to produce guidance and advice for its members and will publish an industry-wide CSR blueprint later in the year for members to work towards. Additionally, since taking over the administration of the BFRC, the GGF has redeveloped the website (launched at Glassex 07) and guidance notes and manuals for Operations and Simulators have been redesigned.
“This is the beginning of an exciting new phase in the development of the GGF.” concludes Rick Wilberforce. “It is an ambitious industry initiative, but one we feel is imperative and has the potential to benefit us all.”