At Glaston, we continuously strive to reduce the environmental impacts arising from our activities, use of machines on customers’ premises, and the end products. Our most significant environmental impacts in our own activities come mainly from energy consumption, waste and transportation.
At Glaston’s assembly and production units, we operate in accordance with the ISO 9001 quality management system. In Finland, Glaston manages environmental issues in accordance with the ISO 14001 environmental management system.
Commited to reducing emissions
In 2022, emissions from Glaston’s own operations totaled 1,491 tCO2 in 2022 (2,608 tCO2 in 2021), of which fuels and natural gas (Scope 1) account for around 41% and electricity and district heat (Scope 2) for around 59%.
Scope 2 emissions, from purchased energy, declined significantly when, from the beginning of 2022, the Tampere, Finland and Neuhausen, Germany factories switched to using electricity produced from renewable energy. In the Swiss production unit in Bützberg, where renewable energy has been the main source of electricity for a long time, it was also decided to renew the heating distribution system. This significantly reduces consumption of natural gas. In addition, a solar power system was installed in Bützberg. In Neuhausen, charging points for electric cars were installed in the parking area of the premises.
Emissions target achieved
One of the Glaston Group’s four non-financial targets is to halve the intensity of CO2 emissions from the company’s own operations by 2025.
Relative to net sales, Glaston’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions (7.0 tCO2 /EUR million) decreased by 57% compared to the baseline in 2020 (16.3 tCO2/EUR million) and the strategic target was already met.
The goal of emission reductions will be refined during 2023.
Recycling of packaging materials and waste
The primary aim is to prevent the generation of waste. The goal is to minimize the amount of waste in general, and particularly the amount that ends up other than in final disposal. Glaston’s operations give rise to a lot of packaging materials, and they are sorted and either recycled or used as energy waste. In 2022, the total amount of waste decreased by around 10%, but at the same time a larger proportion was directed to recycling or for energy.
In Glaston’s operations, the most significant environmental impacts arise when customers use machines purchased from us.
The operating life of Glaston’s tempering machines is fairly long. A significant part of the operating costs of the machines comes from the price of energy. Our product development has therefore long focused on improving the energy-efficiency of the machines. As a result of this work, we have been able to substantially reduce the energy consumption of the most significant products in our tempering machine portfolio. For example, in the tempering process of low-emissivity glass, energy consumption has been reduced by around 30% over the last decade.
Electricity consumption in the manufacturing of glass pre-processing machines and insulating glass units is low and, as a result of product development, consumption has been reduced even further. Development has focused on, for example, conveyor control and optimization of washing machine ventilation.
In product development, we utilize new technology and the opportunities created by digitalization. With the aid of cloud services and the industrial internet, the we help our customers to use their machines as efficiently as possible. A real-time quality measurement system detects deviations in the quality of processed glass immediately, thereby minimizing material waste.
Our machines are designed to withstand constant use at high utilization rates. At Glaston, we pay special attention to the quality and durability of the materials used in the machines. Our production and assembly processes and installation methods are designed to promote product quality and reliability as well as the safety of installers and customers.
At Glaston, we are constantly developing the quality, reliability and energy efficiency of our products, because our customers’ end products require consistently higher quality and more versatile features.
Energy is the biggest cost item in the lifetime of buildings. Heat generation and loss through windows accounts for 25–30% of the energy used for heating and cooling buildings. New energy standards and stricter legislation are driving demand for more energy-efficient and environmentally conscious solutions in both new and renovation construction. In addition, supranational programs such as the EU’s Green Deal and campaigns such as Renovate Europe, for example, are steering societies towards more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient solutions.
The energy-saving potential is enormous, because in the EU area up to 86% of buildings’ glass surfaces consist of outdated and less energy-efficient single or double glazing. The glass processing industry has actively developed types of glass that can be used to optimize the need for heating and cooling in buildings and thereby reduce energy consumption.
Glaston provides engineering and consulting services for the production of smart glass and energy glass windows. Demand for solar energy is growing, and strict quality requirements, for example in relation to glass thickness and curved surfaces, are set for the glass used in solar panels and cells. In smart glass applications, windows that react to fluctuations in light or temperature, for example, improve the energy performance of buildings.
A study, published in May 2019, commissioned by Glass for Europe, finds that nearly 30% of Europe’s building energy consumption for heating and cooling could be saved in 2030 if all Europe’s buildings were equipped with high-performance glazing.