Recognition and Accolades for Environmental and Sustainable Efforts

USGlass Magazine’s 2020 Green Awards once again recognize companies, products and individuals that are dedicated to improving the environmental and sustainable well-being of not just the industry, but the planet. Our editorial team carefully reviewed each submission and selected winners that demonstrate an environmentally conscious commitment, 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 the 2021 program, please email Ellen Rogers at


Contract Glazier

Ace Glass Construction Corp. | Little Rock, Ark.
What many know as the contract glazing firm Ace Glass, is actually one branch of the Ace Glass Construction family. It also includes Ace Glass Manufacturing and Ace Glass Recycling. Each of the three are separate entities working together as needed.

In 2018 when the corporate headquarters relocated, core values, incorporating four key components, were put into practice:

1. An existing facility designed around the use of existing structures and modifying them to meet the needs of the three companies;

2. A remodeling plan for the office building designed to LEED Platinum standards;

3. An investment in solar panels to run the entire 9.5-acre property. With 100,000 square feet under roof, this requires a solar array of 456 individual modules that produce 148 kilowatts, capable of running the office, all lighting on the property, and all the production equipment in the fabrication shop; and

4. A recycling facility, Ace Glass Recycling, to counter the elimination of curbside glass recycling within the city of Little Rock.

Currently, Ace Glass Recycling offers residential curbside collection, residential dropoff centers, and commercial pick-up services for businesses, and is poised to recycle more than 2,000 tons of glass in 2020—more than 10 times the previous volume for central Arkansas, owner Courtney Little says. He adds that the glass recycling has filled a niche that was previousl  underserved with the curbside collection efforts. “The three companies
are working together to close the loop for the glass and glazing market in central Arkansas.”

The company has also taken a number of initiatives to encourage green and sustainable practices in its operations. For example, water fountains on the property not only encourage re-filling reusable water bottles, they also keep count of how many bottles are kept out of the landfill by refilling.

“The ceiling of our manufacturing plant was painted completely white, providing the reflectivity to allow a reduction of the originally specified lighting requirements by 30%,” adds Little. “Every light fixture on the property is running LED lights to reduce not only the energy consumption, but also the heat build-up. Cardboard packaging is regularly recycled as part of our standard operating procedure for both the manufacturing facility and the office.”

These efforts have also led to a number of awards and recognitions. These include the Arkansas Recycling Coalition Award for Outstanding Sustainability Program. The company was also nominated for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Annual ENVY Award for its positive sustainability impact.

Glass Fabricator

McGrory Glass | Paulsboro, N.J.
A commitment to the environment and sustainability are essential to McGrory Glass. The company was one of the first major glass fabrication companies to reach net zero energy consumption, thanks in part to its 2.2-acre solar paneled roof, which was installed in 2012. In addition to its net zero energy consumption, McGrory uses environmentally-friendly products in its operations.

“The bulk of McGrory’s custom architectural and decorative glass solutions are Red List free (those products containing chemicals designated as harmful to living creatures, including humans, or the environment) and are inherently non-emitting sources of VOCs,” says Helena Mutak, director of marketing. “Because our solutions are unique to [customers’] visions, we provide custom confirmation letters that reflect the products delivered for their projects.”

Recycling and working with recycled materials is also a part of the company’s operations.

For example, Mutak says they engineer their patented systems to allow for fabrication with post-consumer recycled materials. As an example, the company’s  CaptiveHook system is composed of almost 40% recycled materials. In addition, its warehouse also participates in recycling programs for other manufacturing components, such as interlayers, and reuses wooden shipping pallets.

Supplier selection is also important.

“Our international supplier partnerships are with global manufacturers that have been proactive front runners in environmental and sustainability efforts,” says Mutak. “We only align with those who reflect our values and the values of the architectural and design community/our customers.” As an example, AGC, one of McGrory’s fire-rated glass suppliers, was included in the top 20 of the Wall Street Journal’s “100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies in the World.”

McGrory Glass is also focused on providing project specific LEED details, and helps to facilitate a project’s certification.

“It’s not just good customer service: it’s the right thing to do. We work with a wide range of global architectural and design firms, and we process requests for environmental/LEED documentation daily,” says Mutak. “We are here to help, and committed to actions that truly make a difference—not just documentation, but sustainable business practices not required by regulation.”

In addition, McGrory Glass is a manufacturer member of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Collaborative and provides product-specific HPDs for its custom architectural and decorative glass solutions. The company also maintains an internal database of Type III Environmental Product Declarations, product-specific and industry-wide, that have cradle-to-gate scope and conform to ISO standards 14025 and EN 15804 or ISO 21930 for its architectural and decorative glass solutions.

McGrory is also a member of the mindful MATERIALS Collaborative.

Finished Systems Supplier

Solar Innovations Inc. | Pine Grove, Pa.
Solar Innovations Inc. (SII) doesn’t take its core value to “Live & Work Green” lightly. It has taken steps to see that these words are practiced everyday by everyone in the company. As just one example, to help reduce fuel emissions and promote responsible commuting, SII incentivizes carpooling and the use of energy-efficient vehicles with priority parking spaces for those who participate. Additionally, team members in manufacturing roles work a Monday-Thursday schedule, which also helps reduce fuel emissions, traffic, and the facility’s energy consumption.

“In daily life within our facility, we collect rainwater to use for irrigating our greenhouse and compost all possible waste to help rejuvenate our local resources,” says president Greg Header. “However, the greatest impact that Solar Innovations has in protecting the environment comes in the practices we uphold within our building and production process.”

One big change the company made recently was adding 1,600 solar panels to its existing array of over 2,000.

“Our facility has achieved net-zero energy consumption for about 1/3 of the year and one of our three buildings is now considered ‘off-the-grid,’” says Header.

In addition, the company recycles and reuses everything possible, and separates all possible types of material to reduce waste properly.

“To limit our environmental impact, we use low VOC paint where possible and FSC-certified woods to properly conserve the world’s woodlands,” says Header. “We prioritize purchasing materials from suppliers that use ethical practices in their production as well, including those who use recycled materials and packaging. Our team also cuts down on waste by purchasing pre-owned machines, vehicles and furniture where possible, as well
as recycling and reusing packaging used to ship samples and finished products.”

Solar Innovations has also partnered with local organizations to plant trees and restore streams, both at its facility and in neighboring areas. This, Header says, helps to rebuild land to development.

While the Solar Innovations facility was originally designed to be LEED Gold-certified, its recent efforts to reach net-zero in energy consumption have now qualified it for LEED Platinum. The company has received several awards from the Northeast PA Manufacturers and Employers Association, including the Manufacturers Excellence Award for Energy Efficiencies, as well as awards for Excellence in Product Innovation and Expansion. It has also been recognized with Waste Watchers Awards from the Centre County Solid Waste Authority for waste reduction and packaging reduction.

Up And Comer | Pulp Studio Gardena, Calif.

Recycling its water and glass waste has long been a top priority for Pulp Studio, and now the company is taking its environmental commitment even further. The company is adding the distillation of all paint waste, bundling and recycling of all its paper waste and just signed a contract for a $3 million solar panel and battery storage system.

“It is our great hope that recycling and committing to an intelligent use of resources will, before too long, become standard practice throughout the world, for our planet and for future generations,” says Bernard Lax, founder and CEO, adding he is working to remove the company completely from the grid, which helps the community with impacts of climate change.

As for its operations, Pulp Studio cleans and recycles all of its fabrication waste water and reuses it over and over again.

“The daily process not only makes us more ecological, it improves performance and leads to a higher quality glass,” says Lax. “Processing glass creates a large amount of waste material that is not, or cannot, be used. Instead of allowing this glass waste to end up in the local dump, we deliver it to facilities that grind up the glass waste and repurpose it for other uses, such as water filtration, gravel base, and many other applications.”

The company is also moving forward with a new solar panel system, which should generate daily output in the area of 607.5 kw of power—roughly 40% of the factory’s total daily consumption. This new system is a major step toward removing the company completely from the grid.

“If the annual savings pan out as projected, our intent is to implement additional solar coverage with the goal to remove the facility from the grid completely,” says Lax.


Architectural Metal Product

Linetec’s Bordeaux Anodize
Linetec’s Bordeaux Anodize offers a number of green and sustainable features, starting with the anodizing process. Anodizing is a natural process that converts the aluminum surface to aluminum oxide by electrochemically controlling, accelerating and enhancing oxidation of an aluminum substrate. Also, the chemicals used in the process do not become part of the anodized aluminum material, so it can be re-used many times. In addition, the finish produces no harmful or dangerous by-products and is non-hazardous. By-products are recyclable, and Linetec uses fully-automated equipment to achieve its goal of consistency throughout each job, reduced energy use and reduced waste to landfills, according to the company.

At the end of its life on a building, the finished aluminum is 100% recyclable. Its Declare Label lists a life expectancy of 40 years. The Bordeaux Anodize, along with all of the company’s eco-friendly anodize finishing for aluminum, has earned a Declare Label as Living Building Challenge Red List Free.

Glass Product

Bendheim Channel Glass
Lamberts EcoGlass channel glass contains up to 40% post-consumer recycled material, and the product itself is 100% recyclable. Part of the company’s resource-saving production methods include the use of recycled glass, which requires less energy to process compared to other materials. In addition, 100% renewable electricity is used throughout the factory. Also, oxygen is added to fire the glass-melting furnace, which helps minimize the amount of natural glass needed for the process. In addition, the glass has an Environmental Product Declaration, confirming its ecological advantages. As a result of this data transparency, architects are now able to create double-glazed channel glass facades with a lower carbon footprint than most traditional curtainwalls, according to company information.

Individual Winner

Mic Patterson

Ambassador of Innovation and Collaboration, Facade Tectonics Institute
Environmental awareness has been a focus for Mic Patterson since the 1960s, prompted by such seminal texts as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller’s Spaceship Earth, and Donella Meadows’ Limits to Growth, as well as publications such as Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog.

“These writings profoundly influenced me … and came into sharp relief in the mid-1970s during the energy crisis,” says Patterson. “I subsequently witnessed the emergence of terms such as sustainable development, green, global warming, climate change and resilience … I also witnessed the dawning of awareness in the building industry that we were a big part of the problem; it was shocking.”

He continues, “In 2007, I made the commitment to amplify my efforts in leading the industry toward resilient and sustainable buildings and urban habitat. I pursued my LEED AP BDC certification. I also decided I needed to better understand the nuances of resilience and sustainability if I was to responsibly play a leadership role. I went back to school—working full time throughout—and ultimately earned a PhD in architecture in 2017,” he says. “My dissertation research focused on the sustainability of contemporary curtainwall practices.”

In 2007 he founded the Facade Tectonics Institute, which he describes as his most significant accomplishment.

For Patterson, it’s also important to continually promote the use of green/high-performance glazing products and materials.

“Buildings turn out to be a big contributor to climate change, responsible for nearly 40% of total carbon emissions globally, with 28% of these being embodied carbon emissions,” he says. “This means that it is not just energy-efficiencies during the operational cycle that must be mitigated, but that the materiality of our buildings is a critical factor, bringing to the forefront important issues such as material selection and durability.”

He continues, “I contend that we significantly undervalue the impact of service life: doubling the service life of a building or assembly halves the lifecycle embodied carbon. Architectural glass is a ubiquitous and critically important material in buildings, and the industry has made remarkable progress in improving the performance of these products. It’s done so to better promote sustainability and resilience in buildings and urban habitat, but also to promote health, wellness and productivity. Yet, surprisingly, our architectural schools are graduating students with very little education in architectural glazings and building facade systems. This is something I am keen on changing.”

He continues, “It’s clear that a resilient and sustainable built environment will not happen without the massive engagement of our global societies. It’s an enormously complex and challenging undertaking …” he says. “It is simply the greatest thing we can do—the only thing worth doing— and it will be our legacy as a species. What can be more important than protecting our planet, our civilization, all life forms, for future generations, for our grandchildren’s grandchildren? This should be foremost in our mind as we design every new building, every new building product. Let’s design and build for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.”

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.