Direct electricity usage was down slightly in 2019 and natural gas consumption in our operations increased slightly over the previous year. Energy consumption has been a significant focus of our individual facilities as we work toward improving efficiencies through installation of energy efficient lighting, equipment and implementing administrative controls for managing equipment operation schedules. Energy consumption efficiency improvement projects and initiatives over the past 2 years is being credited with the decrease in electricity usage in 2019. In fact production levels were increased in 2019 over the previous year. The increase with natural gas fuel usage is attributed directly to the increase in production levels for 2019.
The energy savings potential from using PFB’s insulating products over the expected lifetime of those products (assumed to be 50 years) exceeds the amount of energy consumed in the manufacturing process by a ratio of approximately 120:1.
(1) Estimated energy savings due to the installation of PFB foam insulation products per unit mass. Estimates based on data in “Energy and Greenhouse Gas Savings for EPS Foam Insulation Applied to Exterior Walls of Single Family Residential Housing In the U.S. and Canada”, Franklin Associates Ltd. February 2009. Energy savings based on reduction in heating when insulation installed as per assumptions in the Franklin report. Note that other insulation materials will provide equivalent reduction in energy and GHG savings if installed to the same level of thermal performance.
(2) Production energy includes embodied energy in raw materials as per “Energy and Environmental Profile of the US Chemical Industry” (May 2000 by Energetics Inc. for US Department of Energy) and direct production energy to manufacture in process raw materials and finished products.
We measure and monitor the total amount of electricity and natural gas consumed by our operations. Electricity consumption was down slightly whereas natural gas consumption was up slightly in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Electrical Notes - Electricity (green bars) refer to the right vertical axis, natural gas consumption (blue bars) refer to the left vertical axis. Natural gas refers to Natural gas and biomass to create steam for production process and heat for general building heat and process heat.
Water consumption increased slightly in 2019 over 2018 due mainly to increase in production levels. Although the overall water usage increased, the water consumption as a ratio of output (m3/tonne foam) increased only slightly. The small increase in water consumption pre unit output shows degradation in efficiency and is being attributed to a couple of isolated maintenance issues which have now been corrected.
Our focus for the past several years has been to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by using fossil fuels more efficiently. Additionally, PFB has an initiative underway to substitute raw material inputs with materials that contain less VOC expanding agent.
The key emissions that we track are GHG’s, VOCs, NOx and SOx. We monitor emissions as a ratio of tonnes emitted to tonnes of EPS foam produced. Reductions in the ratios indicate better performance.
Since 2008 we have reduced VOC emissions intensity due to efforts to introduce raw materials with lower VOC content. PFB’s long term plan is to continue converting applications and manufacturing facilities over to the lower VOC raw materials to continuously improve our impact on the environment. In 2008, 13% of our raw materials consumed contained reduced levels of VOCs. In 2010 we successfully increased the usage of low VOC alternative raw material to 59% of the total input. Over the past 3 years the average annual use of low VOC raw material has been greater than 80% of total EPS resin usage. This effort has resulted in an average annual VOC emissions reduction of over 100 tonnes and a total reduction of 700 tonnes over the past 7 years (compared to potential emissions had higher VOC raw material been consumed instead).
Chart Note – A tabulation error we discovered which exaggerated the reported VOC emissions for 2014 through 2017 in previous sustainability reports; this error has been corrected in the data displayed in this 2018 report.
Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted from PFB operations, arises from burning natural gas and other fuels in our production operations. We calculate and report GHG emissions in metric tonnes CO2 equivalents. Direct GHG emissions from PFB operations in 2019 were slightly higher than the previous year but emissions intensity was relatively the same year over year.
Our insulating products provide customers with the means to reduce their energy consumption and, consequently, their GHG emissions. The estimated GHG reductions that could be achieved if all of the EPS insulation products made by PFB in 2019 were applied to exterior walls of single family residential housing in Canada would be approximately 50,000 metric tonne. A ratio of 5 to 1. Through improvements in the energy-efficiency of our processes we intend to focus on reducing our GHG emissions to further improve the net benefits provided by our products.
(1) Estimated GHG emissions reductions potential due to the installation of PFB foam insulation products sold during the reporting year - estimates based on data in “Energy and Greenhouse Gas Savings for EPS Foam Insulation Applied to Exterior Walls of Single Family Residential Housing In The U.S. and Canada”, Franklin Associates Ltd. February 2009. GHG savings is based on reduction in heating when insulation installed as per assumptions in the Franklin report. Note that other insulation materials will provide equivalent reduction in energy and GHG savings if installed to the same level of thermal performance.
(2) In 2016 GHG emissions was under reported by about 200 tonnes due to some biomass fuel being excluded from the summation in error. The 2016 value has been corrected in this year’s report to allow accurate comparison to 2017 data.