Less than 500 employees

Peerless Products Inc. 

For Peerless Products, going green is more than just recycling office and shop waste. In recent years, the company has dedicated itself to making its facility as green as possible. These efforts included repairing and replacing its roof and insulation to help with energy loss, installing high-performance fans in the manufacturing facility, and recycling damaged aluminum, glass and cardboard, among other efforts. But one of the biggest moves the company made was removing its wet paint line and switching to a clean vertical powder coat line. “The wet paint line contained harsh chemicals that were exposed to anyone working around the paint line, while the new powder coat line has closed tanks without harsh chemicals,” says Sarah Lero, marketing manager. “The powder coat line also has a recapture system where we capture any unused powder and reuse it so it does not go to waste.”

In addition, while installing the powder coat line the company also added a water treatment system that cleans the water used by the powder line and puts it back into the community cleaner than it started.

It has also put its own materials to good use in its office upgrades. This includes building desks manufactured in-house out of aluminum and glass. both recyclable material. The company also has a 58 system in place allowing it to cut waste out of its plant and office, and has a full staff of continuous improvement employees whose sole job is to cut the waste out of processes and make the plant more efficient.

The company’s efforts to be more environmentally responsible have also had an impact in other areas. Lero says they have also seen employee safety increase through these efforts.

“This highly affects the community as we are the largest employer in the town of Fort Scott, Kan. As the community has seen us grow we have noticed buildings around us are now replacing their old windows with higher performance windows.”

Recognizing the Industry’s Commitment to Environmental and Sustainable Efforts

The architectural glass and glazing industry is filled with products designed to help buildings operate more efficiently, reduce heating and cooling costs, and create a more comfortable space for occupants. However, when our editorial team began planning for this year’s USGlass Magazine Green Awards, we wanted to go even further, and decided to advance the awards in new directions, recognizing products, companies and individuals. After careful review and selection by our editorial team, the winners demonstrate a commitment to designing and creating a high-performance, sustainable architectural glass façade—through their products, their operations and their individual efforts.

Product selection criteria included a focus on sustainability, transparency and verification, innovation and application. Companies were assessed based on their commitments toward improving their environmental operational performance, along with their sustainability strategy. Individuals were assessed on their involvement in green building practices and the advocacy and development of a sustainable/high-performance built environment. If you would like to nominate a product, company or individual to be considered for next year’s program, please email Ellen Rogers at

More than 500 employees

YKK AP America Inc.

YKK AP says it considers the environment in everything it does—not only does it develop innovative products designed to block heat, provide insulation and improve ventilation in homes and offices, it also takes that a step further to address how the products are manufactured. The company says it works to minimize its carbon dioxide emissions across manufacturing, sales and distribution processes, and actively invests in energy-saving technology and works to cut the amount of energy used per-unit weight of products shipped.

In addition, the company says that in November 2015 it became the first facades manufacturer to voluntarily provide third party-certified Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for all products in its portfolio. The company now uses its EPD data to refine and manage its manufacturing processes to improve environmental product performance and become a more sustainable company.

YKK AP has also been involved with many environmental efforts within the community specifically. For example, at its Austell, Ga., headquarters, the company participates in Keep Cobb Beautiful’s Adopt-a-Mile Program. Employees help maintain their dedicated mile of highway in their own backyard of Cobb County, Ga., helping improve the county’s environmental and waste management processes.

In addition, its manufacturing plant in Dublin, Ga., is ISO 14001 certified and has a 73% recycling rate. The plant recycles 100% of aluminum waste on-site and has reduced the amount of other waste materials sent to landfills by 40%. The manufacturing plant uses regenerative burners to save 50% of the melting/casting operation‘s fuel consumption. Additionally, the plant captures and burns 93% of all solvent emissions from the paint line, and uses high-level techniques for wastewater treatment.

Glass Manufactruing Plant

Fresno, Calif., Float Plant

Vitro Architectural Glass

While float glass production uses a lot of energy, some companies, such as Vitro Architectural Glass, are taking steps to minimize that consumption. Earlier this year the company reported that its Fresno, Calif., location became the first float glass manufacturing plant in the United States to earn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star certification for superior energy efficiency. The company reported that the plant earned this certification by registering an energy performance score ranked in the 75th percentile or higher among other float glass manufacturing plants in the United States. According to the Energy Performance Indicator (EPI), the benchmarking tool established by Energy Star, the Fresno plant scored in the 100th percentile among its peers, meaning there are few, if any, more energy-efficient float glass plants in the country, Vitro reported.

The plant, which operates one of eight oxygen-fuel-powered (oxy-fuel) glass furnaces in the world, underwent a complete redesign and rebuild in 2016 to incorporate the latest advances in insulating refractory materials. It also was furnished with automated proximity lighting and more energy-efficient motors, pumps, compressors and other equipment.

Using a proprietary process developed and licensed by Vitro Glass, the Fresno plant uses high-purity oxygen instead of air to melt raw materials such as sand and silica. By melting raw materials with high-purity oxygen instead of air, the Fresno plant reduces natural gas consumption by 15%, carbon emissions by 10% and nitrogen-oxide emissions by more than 50% compared to traditional gas/air-fired glass furnaces. As a result, the plant combines energy efficiency with significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the complete redesign and rebuild, front line operators and engineering and management teams updated the Fresno works with automated proximity lighting and retrofitted existing operational equipment with energy-efficient motors, pumps, compressors and other equipment.


Architectural Metals Winner

Rheinzink prePATINA

A green building product is more than just high-performance features. While it may help reduce energy costs, does it have an appropriate life cycle—cradle to cradle? When selecting our green product winners, benefits such as recyclability and a long life cycle stood out. Rheinzink prePATlNA products meet both criteria. The products are made to offer a potential lifespan of 100 years or more, and are 100% recyclable. Plus, zinc ore, based on current production quantities, is not only readily available, reserves are estimated to last for the next 700 years.

In March 2009, Rheinzink was awarded certification according to the Cradle to Cradle criteria, which is based on the philosophy that all materials can be recycled into a new product without loss of quality including their residual materials. This takes into account the entire life cycle from generation of the material until its reuse. This is different than recycling in that a material retains its original value and can be reused as a new item of at least equal value (upcycling) and not as an inferior product (downcycling), or something only fit for the landfill.

Rheinzink is manufactured to exceed the requirements of Euro-Norm Standard DIN EN 988 (formerly DIN 17770), which prescribes certain minimum material properties for titanium zinc. The company is constantly subjected to quality control monitoring according to DIN EN 988, DIN ISO 9001, DIN ISO 14001 requirements, and additionally by an external inspection through an accredited, independent institute (TUV Rheinland), according to the “Quality Zinc” criteria.

Other Unique Features:

– May contribute to up to 17 possible LEED points;

– EPD; – BRE Global Environmental Profile and Certificate;

– Since Zinc is a self-healing material, if scratched, prePATlNA will re-patinate.

Glass Product Winner

Walker Glass, AviProtek E

As with many architectural glass products, AviProtek E can be recycled and re-used in a variety of different sub-products. These include highway paint, roadways, terrazzo flooring and many more. And this low-E glass product can also be used to help control heating and cooling costs, also a high-performance feature. But the most important environmental benefit this glass offers, is its ability to help save and preserve wildlife, specifically, birds.

Hundreds of millions of birds die every year in North America due to collisions with glass structures. Municipalities across North America are adopting bird deterrence legislation to protect bird life. The AviPr0tek E bird-friendly glass solution combines acid-etched visual markers on the first surface with Vitro’s Solarban high performance low-E on the second sur- face. This solution provides a deterrence that’s practically invisible to the human eye, but can be seen by birds. This helps them identify the solid barrier that is glass and avoid a potential deadly collision.

The acid-etched visual markers on surface one are permanent, providing wear, stain and scratch resistance combined with the solar performance elements such as high light transmittance and aesthetics. This products also has an EPD.


Hardware Product Winner

ASSA ABLOY Glass Panic Device

Door hardware might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about green building products. But materials and production are important. The company’s glass panic devices are made with stainless steel and aluminum, with the primary manufacturing processes handled by Tier l suppliers. The final manufacturing processes are in its Rockwood, Pa., facility, which have Environmental Management certification to ISO 1400112015 and Occupational Health and Safety to OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment) 1800l:2007. Any waste metals during machining are separated and recycled, and waste from the water-based painting process is delivered to a waste treatment plant. According to the company, 100% of the materials used are recyclable.

The company is dedicated to having a minimal environmental impact throughout the manufacturing process, where health and safety is the primary focus for all employees and associates. Environmental operations, greenhouse gases, energy, water, waste, volatile organic compounds (VOC), surface treatment and health and safety are routinely monitored Inspections, audits, and reviews are conducted periodically to ensure that applicable standards are met and environment management program effectiveness is evaluated.

Other Unique Features of the Device:

– It can contribute to a variety of LEED v4 categories, including Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality;

– It provides access to daylight and quality views, also contributing to the WELL Building Standard

– Under certain installed guidelines, it can be moved from one door to another during the reference service life (30 years), and it can be mechanically dissembled to separate the different materials;

– EPD.

Honorable mention

SPH Global LLC, Enviro-Shield Peelable Protective Coatings

It’s one thing to be a recyclable product, but what about something that recycles back into itself? That‘s something unique about Enviro-Shield protective coatings. A company statement says the VOC-free peelable coating stays on the surface, keeping it protected from start to finish. Once re- moved from the surface, the dirt and debris can be washed off and the coating melted down and reapplied on-site or in a factory. This process can also be completed by the end user, further encouraging in-house recycling. It can also be returned to the factory and reground back into a pellet form to be recycled 100% back into its original form. The company says the process can be repeated numerous times, saving raw materials and energy so there is no waste and no need to landfill any of the product, according to the company.

The temporary peelable protective coating is air cured and made with 100% solids, according to the company, adding that it can be left on the surface throughout the manufacturing and construction process, eliminating short lived temporary protection that is ultimately thrown away.

Individual Winner

Helen Sanders, Ph.D, Technoform

Few individuals are as dedicated to driving not only the glazing industry, but the entire architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry toward a more high-performance, sustainable future, than Helen Sanders, who works in strategic business development for Technoform North America.

“For as long as l can remember, I’ve been advocating for a focus on energy and sustainability within our glass and glazing community, and for adoption of high-performance fenestration systems within the AEC community at large,” she says. Her efforts involve participation in codes and standards organizations and associations, as well as the work she has done for her companies.

Much of this involvement has been within the former Glass Association of North America (now National Glass Association [NGA]) where she was the first chair of the Energy Committee and then its Energy Division. Here, she was active in its development, focusing on advocacy work and creating data supporting the sustainability benefits of high-performance fenestration. She is currently involved with NGA‘s advocacy committee’s efforts to see windows as a basic health requirement in the International Building Code.

For the past three-plus years, she’s also been involved in the Facade Tectonics Institute (FTI) whose mission is to promote the design and construction of high-performance facades. In 2017, she was elected the Institute’s first president and was involved in its incorporation and application for 501c3 non-profit status.

“I continue to work with the FTI board on strategies to break down the barriers to constructing facades with higher energy performance, longer lifetimes and which create more sustainable and comfortable environments for the occupants,” she says. “This includes engaging with [various] institutions to work together on raising the performance bar, improving education and breaking down silos that inhibit the adoption of higher performance facades.”

In terms of building codes and standards, Sanders has also worked diligently as an advocate for the use of high-performance glazing. She has developed language for dynamic glazing in ASHRAE 90.1, 189.1, IECC and lgCC. In addition, she has played a leadership role in the development of the windows and processed glass Product Category Rules, and completed EPDs and health disclosure documentation (such as Health Product Declarations) for insulating glass.

Sanders has also collaborated with universities and research institutions to demonstrate the energy and human factors benefits of using high-performance fenestration, and has also been at the forefront of advocating for higher thermal performance in fenestration and elimination of thermal bridging in the AEC community.

In addition to her extensive advocacy efforts, Sanders also dedicates a significant amount of her time to education. She speaks frequently at national and international events, promoting the positive energy and sustain- ability impacts of specifying high performance glazing. In addition to Facade Tectonics, these include the AIA National Convention, Zak World of Facades, Glass Performance Days, BEST Conferences, GlassBuild America and GlassCon Global, among many others.

For Sanders, being involved with these efforts isn’t just important to her own company, but the entire architectural glass and glazing community.

“The envelope is the corner- stone of sustainable building design. It is the barrier that protects, yet connects, the occupants with the outside environment. It is the difference between a comfortable and healthy indoor environment and an environment that detracts from health and wellness. It is the difference between an energy efficient building and an energy hog. It is the difference between a long-lasting building and one that degrades quickly over time,” she says. “As a country and as a planet, we need to figure out how to build buildings for a sustain- able planet and sustainable human health and a high performance envelope is the key.”

She points out that the glass and glazing industry has a key role to play in the performance of the envelope. This includes developing and delivering new, high-performance products, ensuring high quality, long-lasting, facade installations, educating the AEC community, minimizing the embodied energy and car- bon in the products they produce, as well as other ecological impacts in a company‘s manufacturing footprint, and minimizing the amount of harmful substances used in production.

“The delivery of higher performance and higher quality products leads to higher revenue and profits. The reduction of embodied energy and carbon in manufacturing generally leads to operational cost savings, too,” she says. “Supporting sustainable design is a win-win. The challenge we must ad- dress is the short-term, upfront cost-benefit analysis thinking that is prevalent in the developer community which throttles the adoption of higher performance facades.”

She adds, “l would encourage others to get involved, especially in the cross-discipline Facade Tectonics Institute, so that we can drive our built environment to include higher performance envelopes for people and the planet.”

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