Reusing recovered glass cullet

One of the ways we save energy while re-utilizing a byproduct is by incorporating cullet into our processes. Cullet is broken or rejected glass that is added to new materials, heated to a liquid state and floated on a bath of molten tin to produce a perfect ribbon of glass, while providing a multitude of benefits not just for our business, but the environment. Glass cullet, which melts at a much lower temperature than sand, is recyclable and reduces our overall energy needs. On average for every 10% of cullet we use in our processes, our energy demands are reduced by up to 3% (Guardian, including primarily using internal cullet generated from float glass manufacturing, on average runs between 18% and 20% cullet, dependent on quality and availability). The use of cullet reduces CO2 emissions since cullet requires less energy to process. Utilization of cullet lowers our dependency on virgin materials, saving resources like sand, soda ash and limestone.

Contributing to Energy Star-compliant products

We’ve developed a range of Guardian ClimaGuard® residential low-emissivity (or low-E) coated glass products to help keep homes comfortable in different geographic zones and environments, as well as help meet Energy Star® requirements for energy efficiency (North America only). These low-E coatings help reflect infrared light to keep heat inside where it’s needed during the winter and outside in the summer. From high-solar-gain coatings for homes that endure cold northern climates, to low-solar-gain coatings that benefit homes located in hotter southern climates, ClimaGuard windows utilize the thinnest layers of metallic oxides and compounds that can keep homes comfortably warm or cool in even the harshest environments. And for commercial construction, our Guardian SunGuard® advanced architectural glass products also utilize low-E coatings for superior solar control and energy performance in installations around the world.

Helping you calculate sustainability

As a component of Guardian Glass Analytics, we created an award winning Sustainability Calculator measuring products against various green building standards to guide North America prospective customers through the glass selection process. Guardian puts the power of the Sustainability Calculator in your hands to help select, evaluate and document performance according to a range of rating systems.

Architects, glaziers, fabricators and contractors today must meet increasing environmental performance demands. This tool assists in the glass product selection process by documenting the contribution potential of our Guardian SunGuard and Interior Glass architectural glass products for a range of environmental ratings systems, showcasing how Guardian Glass glazings can help projects earn certifications from green building standards like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard. This calculator is actually the latest in a suite of Guardian Glass Analytics tools, including our Performance Calculator, Building Energy Calculator, BIM Generator and Glass Visualizer, that work together to help our customers See what’s possible™.

Contributing to LEED, BREEAM and WELL certifications

We help our customers achieve their goals toward green building certifications through standards like LEED, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and WELL. While LEED does not certify a specific product, Guardian Glass products can help you earn points in a handful of different categories, including in Energy and Atmosphere and we can also provide project-specific LEED statements.

For BREEAM, our glass products can help builders earn credits for projects in multiple categories – including energy, waste, health and wellbeing – and we can work with customers to choose the right types of glass for their specific needs. And for Guardian Glass manufactured at our European Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Bronze Certified™ float facilities, we can help with WELL Enhanced Material Precaution and Material Transparency requirements.

Committing to the Resource Efficiency

At Guardian Glass, we are committed to using our resources more efficiently. One example includes the GulfGuard float glass facility in Saudi Arabia where we’ve made a concerted effort to reduce carbon emissions through several energy reduction initiatives. By installing variable-frequency drives to control the speed of the cooling fans on our float and pattern glass lines, we’ve achieved an annual energy savings of more than 550,000 kWh. By replacing all warehouse roof lamps with high-efficiency LED fixtures, we’re projecting an annual energy savings of nearly 750,000 kWh once complete. And we’re working on installing new mechanical seals on all our major cooling water pumps to reduce motor energy consumption by 10% and create a projected annual energy savings of more than 1 million kWh.

Earning Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification

In 2019, Guardian architectural glass products manufactured in our European plants– including float glass, sputter-coated float glass and laminated glass products–took a big step in our sustainability journey and achieved Cradle to Cradle (C2C) bronze-level certification overall. C2C certification is awarded based on achievements measured in five core categories, including material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness. Guardian has achieved Gold level in the “Material Reutilization” category for float and coated glass, as well as Silver level for laminated glass within the Cradle to Cradle certification. C2C certification is a globally recognized product standard that helps evaluate a product’s sustainability. By following the C2C Building Charter, architects and designers can build sustainability into their plans from the ground up. And an increasing number of sustainability standards (including LEED, BREEAM-NL and WELL) have recognized the C2C Certified Product Standard as a preferred designation for selecting products committed to sustainability.

Achieving multiple ISO certifications

Our ISO certifications are representative of the efforts we’ve made at our global facilities to ensure our operations meet international standards and align with customer expectations. More than half of our Guardian Glass manufacturing plants around the world have been audited and certified for ISO 14001 (Environmental Management), part of the ISO 14000 family of standards and a requirement for many automotive manufacturers. Adhering to the ISO 14001 standard helps us to measure our environmental impact improvements, including waste reduction and resource efficiency. Guardian has facilities that are certified to ISO standards including 50001 (Energy Management) and 45001 (Occupational Health & Safety). These standards are all part of our commitment to stewardship and sustainability.

Making declarations for health and environment

At Guardian, we’ve developed and published environmental product declarations (EPDs) specific to our glass facilities in our Europe, North America and AMEI (Africa, Middle East and India) regions based on third-party verified Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). EPDs present transparent and verified information about the lifecycle environmental impact of products. Guardian EPDs are developed specific to the region where the glass is manufactured since facility-specific information is collected to quantify the environmental impact of a product. Each EPD is reviewed and approved by a third-party testing and validation service. We then publish these declarations to support various stakeholders including architects and designers by providing our customers with the information they need to achieve credits in green building ratings systems like LEED and BREEAM. Additionally, we share our health product declarations (HPDs) in North America for both our flat and processed glass products as a standardized way of reporting the material contents of our glass building products.

Guardian Glass is also very excited to share our most recent addition of Product Lens™ Certifications for our AMEI region flat glass and processed glass products. UL’s Product Lens™ Certification, developed in partnership with MBDC and Cradle-to-Cradle Product Innovation Institute, is a next-generation transparency tool that shows a substance’s hazard data in context using exposure indicators along the four phases within the life cycle of the product.

Winning awards around the world

Guardian Glass products have been utilized in numerous award-wining buildings and installations around the world. In Berlin, the 50Hertz Netzquartier office building built with Guardian SunGuard® SuperNeutral coated glass was the first ever to receive the DGNB Diamant Award for exceptional design and architectural quality, with the selected SunGuard coated glass providing both solar control and thermal insulation. To the southwest in France, another architectural gem utilizing Guardian SunGuard High Durable glass – the Incity tower in Lyon – has received the Haute Qualite Environnmentale (HQE) Award in recognition of the tower’s high environmental quality, with the SunGuard coated glass used in Lyon contributing to the building’s energy efficiency.

Making glass safer for the birds

Every year, millions of birds make their annual migrations across long stretches of land, often passing through towns and cities in their migratory paths. This can be challenging in populated areas with large buildings, because birds have difficulty determining reflections from reality and often mistake reflections of trees and sky with the real thing. To reduce the impact potential between migratory birds and buildings, we developed a unique coating for our Guardian SunGuard® coated glass as a way of integrating collision deterrence. We call it Bird1st UV-coated glass, and it utilizes a patent-pending UV striped coating that’s visible to birds, but nearly invisible to humans in dry conditions. This product is not only tested effective by the American Bird Conservancy, but can help builders earn LEED Pilot Credit 55 (bird collision deterrence).

Supporting our surrounding communities

Because we believe business can be a positive force in society, strengthening the communities our facilities and so many of our employees call home, we’re invested in organizations that support and enrich the lives of others. In the Metro Detroit area, we’ve helped Youth Entrepreneurs® – a Koch-supported program that teaches high school students entrepreneurial skills for life – expand its curriculum to local schools. Guardian Industries, Guardian Glass and SRG Global employees have also joined forces to fight hunger in Metro Detroit by volunteering to help Forgotten Harvest feed those in need. Employees have led food drives to fill Forgotten Harvest trucks with fresh foods and have hit the fields of rural Michigan to pick thousands of pounds of produce for the organization’s food warehouse. Team members even helped raise funds to buy the organization a brand-new truck to continue its mission.

Exploring new sustainable possibilities

We strive to be leaders in the world of glass and advocates of environmental stewardship, with our own commitment and high standards relative to emissions, energy use, water efficiency and recycling. As regulatory landscapes and customer expectations continue to develop, you need a partner that understands your operating landscape and the challenges you face. The Guardian Glass team is uniquely qualified to help you find the best products and technologies to contribute to your green building certification scores. Connect with us to learn how Guardian Glass can make a significant difference in your next big project, or take a closer look at some of our innovative sustainability projects and capabilities.