INDIANAPOLIS—Firestone Building Products Co. L.L.C. has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by around 10 percent, doing its part to help parent company Bridgestone Americas Inc. achieve an environmental goal it set more than three years ago.
That news was part of the company's 2012 sustainability report, released recently, outlining how the company took steps toward realizing a sustainable society.
"Innovation and sustainability are part of our culture in building products," said Tanya Schnelzer, environmental manager for Firestone Building Products.
"Our goal is always to improve the environmental impact of our products and operations throughout the life cycle. We've worked with our vendors to identify technologies that can optimize our method of extraction, packaging and transportation."
Firestone Building Products, a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, operates 15 manufacturing facilities and two warehouses. All are involved in these programs at some level.
Bridgestone Americas set a goal in April 2010 to reduce CO2 emissions by 35 percent by 2020. One way Firestone Building Products reduced emissions by 8,000 tons was replacing lighting at a number of its facilities with LED lights and motion sensors, so light only comes on when someone is in the area. It also installed some of its own products.
"We sell the SunWave Daylighting System, and what they do is instead of taking the light in and directing it in a single shaft, they will disperse the light," Schnelzer said. "So we've been able to take a lot of our warehousing areas and get away from using electricity for lighting purposes during daytime completely."
Firestone Building Products also has taken steps toward a zero landfill initiative. The company is working to increase its recycling rate, and it is looking for ways to use waste material that can't be recycled in energy projects. For instance, the company will take excess material from the trimming of insulation panels and incorporate that waste into oil absorbent materials used in Firestone's commercial stores.
"We don't like to generate scrap materials," Schnelzer said. "We have a number of processes in place for several of our products where when we do generate scrap, we're able to take that and reuse it back into our product. So we've totally eliminated that as a waste train leaving our facility."
Tim Bent, head of environmental affairs for Bridgestone Americas, said several plants under the Bridgestone umbrella have achieved the zero landfill goal already.
"We have consistently been reducing our waste sent to landfill for many years as well as increasing our rate of recycling of the materials we aren't able to use from our processing," Bent said.
"It was spurred on by our global environmental team to minimize our waste and recycle as much as possible. The goal of zero waste to landfill is a natural progression of that, and we think it is the right thing to do," he said.
Firestone Building Products also challenged its employees. Each plant formed energy committees to generate ideas that would help improve the factory. One idea was to move thermostat sensors in the warehouses higher to keep heaters from running as frequently.
Because hot air rises and cold air falls, if the thermostat sensor is mounted lower, it will sense a colder temperature and turn the heaters on prematurely.
Going forward, company officials say Firestone Build-ing Products will strive to improve the insulation in its buildings to reduce the amount of energy used to regulate the temperature during the various seasons. The firm also is going to continue to try to improve its lighting efficiency toward reducing its CO2 emissions by 35 percent.