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.
Greenhouse gas emissions calculated
On its premises, Glaston conducts regular energy audits, and is constantly improving the energy-efficiency of its properties. The measures undertaken are also assessed from an environmental impact perspective. For example, oil consumption and resultant emissions were significantly reduced when heat pumps were installed, replacing oil as a heating source. In addition, the energy use in production facilities is being made more efficient by renewing and replacing lighting with LEDs. In Germany, the compressed air system is inspected annually for possible leaks, thereby preventing unnecessary carbon dioxide emissions. In Switzerland, the company only uses electricity produced from renewable energy.
During 2020, we studied and calculated for the first time Group-wide energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2). Of the Group’s greenhouse gas emissions, over 80% arise in Finland, Germany and China.
In waste management, our goal is to keep environmental loading as low as possible. Sorting and recycling of waste is arranged taking into account the activities of each operating location. The aim is to keep to a minimum the amount of waste in general as well as the amount going to landfill.
Much waste arises from packaging materials; this is sorted and either recycled or used as energy waste. In Germany, however, goods suppliers’ packaging materials are recovered and suppliers make very effort to reuse them. In China, recyclable material is sold to an external recycling company.
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.