EPA honors nine cement companies and PCA in 2021 Energy Star Awards

Thirteen of the 95 plants earning certification in the 2020 Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star manufacturing category produce portland cement: Argos USA LLC, Calera, Ala. and Harleyville, S.C.; Ash Grove Cement, Seattle; Buzzi Unicem USA, Festus, Mo. and Chattanooga, Tenn.; CalPortland Co., Rillito, Ariz.; Cemex USA, Miami; Drake Cement, Paulden, Ariz.; GCC of America, Pueblo, Colo. and Rapid City, S.D.; Salt River Materials Group, Clarkdale, Ariz.; and, Titan America LLC, Medley, Fla. and Troutville, Va.

“Since the 1990s, the cement industry has been a leader in addressing sustainability,” notes Portland Cement Association CEO Mike Ireland. “PCA is proud to celebrate the Energy Star certification across these plants, exemplifying our members’ commitment to environmental stewardship.”

“These forward-looking businesses have demonstrated that economic development and job creation go hand-in-hand with environmental progress,” says EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “The transition to a clean energy economy is happening now, as partnerships like Energy Star encourage companies to go the extra mile, bringing innovation, cost-savings and pollution reductions in return.”

Energy Star certifies plants achieving energy performance in the top 25 percent of their respective industries, the manufacturing category spanning cement and 19 other sectors. Certification candidates use EPA-defined performance indicators to assess how their energy use compares to facilities with similar operating characteristics. Plants with a verified energy performance score of 75 out of 100 or higher are eligible for Energy Star certification.

By strategically managing energy use, the 95 certified manufacturing plants for 2020 saved nearly $400 million on energy bills—equal to the payroll value of over 8,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs. They also avoided consumption of 80 trillion Btu of energy compared to average plants and prevented over 5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to those from the energy use of nearly 600,000 homes. Since the first industrial facilities received certification 15 years ago, Energy Star plants have logged $6 billion-plus in energy bill savings and prevented over 65 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the individual plant honors, CalPortland and Cemex USA, along with PCA, earned 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year Awards. “PCA and its members are proud to be recognized for continuously improving energy efficiency to reduce emissions,” affirms Ireland. Cement and concrete interests are leading the way towards a more sustainable future, he adds, as the association and producers develop a roadmap across the entire value chain to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Energy Star award-winning partners are showing the world that delivering real climate solutions makes good business sense and promotes job growth,” Administrator Regan concludes. “Many of them have been doing it for years, inspiring all of us who are committed to a clean energy economy.”

As a City of Edmonton Corporate Climate Leaders founding member, Lafarge Canada Inc. is optimistic about the reality of a low carbon future. Under the umbrella of Edmonton’s climate initiative programs, the producer developed a greenhouse gas inventory baseline and set clear and achievable reduction targets. It has likewise shown leadership and continued support of programs demonstrating how local community and businesses can underpin an energy transition.

“Lafarge has been a great example of the leadership we will need from the industry if we are to meet our goals” says Edmonton Councilor Ben Henderson. “Having a company like Lafarge set an early example is critical in getting us down the road of transition to a carbon neutral world.”

The producer participated in three Edmonton initiatives: Corporate Climate Leaders, Building Energy Retrofit Accelerator Rebate, and Energy Benchmarking. As a part of the endeavor, Lafarge measured the energy consumption (natural gas and electricity) of its participating buildings with over 400 local buildings. From there, and with the help of a rebate from the Building Energy Retrofit Accelerator program, the producer completed a lighting conversion project at its Winterburn shop. The site reduced energy consumption by 33 percent and increased lighting by 1,400 percent.

Paired with small changes, the baseline led to tangible energy and GHG reduction successes, increased safety, and decreased utility costs year over year. Engaging stakeholders and taking a bottom-up approach has been the key driver in challenging conventions while mastering the basics. “We are proof that sustainable business is good business, and we saw that from our work with the Corporate Climate leaders. Working with the City of Edmonton on hitting these energy reduction targets has shown practical ways that we can contribute to the green economy,” affirms Lafarge Canada Vice President and General Manager of Central and Northern Alberta Prez Skiba.

The City of Edmonton hopes to grow the program further from its existing 56 member organizations working in diverse industry sectors. Lafarge’s leadership provides a concrete example that climate initiative programs are successful. “Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions as a community depends on all segments of our city to step up,” Henderson contends.