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New Asia Pacific Science and Technology Center Set to Meet Demand for Innovation and Solutions In Better Housing, Energy Conservation And Materials

As a global leader in the building materials and composites industries, Owens Corning is taking bold action in its commitment to meeting the Asia Pacific region's demand for better housing, energy conservation and material solutions through technical innovation. To deliver more effective solutions, the US-based Fortune 500 multinational has announced the establishment of a new Asia Pacific Science and Technology Center to support development and growth of rapidly expanding regional markets.

The Center, based in Shanghai, will focus on developing new applications and solutions to support the company's core and growth businesses in residential and commercial construction, energy, automotive/transportation, electronics, marine and infrastructure markets.  This includes expanding use for glass fiber materials - invented by the company more than sixty-five years ago - as well as creating new applications in conjunction with advanced materials specifically for local markets throughout Asia.

According to Frank O'Brien-Bernini, Vice President, Science and Technology, Owens Corning, "The establishment of this new center underlines Owens Corning's commitment to leveraging our vast global resources and history of innovation to bring new, exciting solutions to key markets in the region."

"This is an unparalleled commitment we are making to our customers to provide support second to none, not only at this new Asia Pacific Center, but also by leveraging our global science and technology capabilities to provide the best solutions we have to offer.  Owens Corning will be successful only when our customers are successful."

Y. M. Lee, Director, Asia Pacific Science & Technology Center, Owens Corning, said,  "With the rapid economic and infrastructure development in all Asia Pacific countries, we are now poised to meet the continuing challenges of finding better, more cost effective, energy efficient and high performance solutions to transform markets and enhance lives"

Developing sustainable solutions to help reduce energy consumption will be a primary focus of the Center's activities.   Lee says that with soaring demand for energy to fuel growth, crippling shortages are taking its toll on productivity, the economy and the environment.

"During the 'Energy Crisis' in the 1970s, Owens Corning was instrumental in offering solutions to helping the US become more energy efficient," explains Lee. He adds that today, the use of insulation in construction can save 36% of annual electricity consumption in the US.Â

"Using lighter weight yet stronger composite materials to replace wood and steel also reduces fuel consumption and conserves natural resources including wood and coal.  More than 3 million tons of petrol can be saved in Asia Pacific if the best composite solutions are used."

Examples of new solutions include finding ways to affordably insulate both existing and new buildings to improve energy efficiency. Better window and door systems, high performance yet attractive building exterior and interior systems, high performance building 'envelope' systems and waterproofing technology are only a few of the applications where Owens Corning technology can be used to improve building performance.

"Better insulated buildings and homes means power and electricity requirements are reduced," explains Lee. "Also, the home environment is more comfortable because the room temperatures and humidity are better controlled while air leaks are eliminated.  Noise transmission is also reduced with the use of insulation."

Lee adds that composite materials reinforced with glass fibers are used in more than 40,000 end-use applications, many of which were developed by Owens Corning, which has built a core competence in solving advanced material needs in virtually every major industry.

"The Center will introduce the latest technology for manufacturing lightweight semi-structural automotive parts as well as lightweight corrosion-resistant structural systems for the oil and gas sector to minimize waste, increase life cycles and improve productivity," said Lee. "We'll also improve the reliability of waterproofing and provide better products and systems in the building construction industry. By developing more applications to replace wood, steel and aluminum, we're helping to reduce pollution from traditional energy sources. Wind energy is generated using blades made of composite materials, so an affordable solution means that more non-polluting wind energy can be used instead of coal or oil."

Lee adds that the growing energy shortages in the region create a new demand for innovative technology.  In addition, the Center will engage in product research, development and testing to ensure that new applications are safe, reliable and cost-effective.
"Owens Corning is committed to protecting the environment," Lee said.  "Our Center will also support our manufacturing operations in China, Korea and India by developing technology and engineering processes to increase productivity, decrease costs, reduce waste and conserve resources.  Furthermore, we want to make sure that our employees are working in a safe environment and that the community is a better place to live."

Another objective of the Center is to work with government agencies to develop better codes and standards. The multi-million dollar investment by Owens Corning will generate employment as the Company looks for research and development talent in the region.  According to Lee, the company will also leverage its worldwide source of talent to bring new ideas to its markets.

"Innovation is a result of highly talented employees focused on developing local solutions for local markets.  In addition to tapping the minds of people who know best what their markets demand, we will also develop talent that can engage in a worldwide exchange of best practices."

"This Center will be an engine for growth for Owens Corning in the years to come," he adds. "The Asia Pacific region is on a fast track for expansion. We look forward to leading initiatives to ensure that this expansion does indeed help raise the standard of living and create better, healthier environments."

In China, Owens Corning operates four fiber glass insulation plants in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Anshan, Liaoning Province; one Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Rigid Foam insulation board plant in Nanjing; and a facility to produce vinyl siding exterior cladding products in Anshan.  A fifth fiber glass insulation plant is under construction in Tianjin, while a new roofing
shingles facility in Jiangyin, Jiangsu Province, is scheduled to start up this spring.

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