Sharing Our Sustainability Vision

Chairman and CEO, Jay Lund, was recently featured in an article on GreenBiz.com where he discussed the variety of sustainability projects that Andersen is currently pursuing.

From increasing and sustaining quality and durability features in our products, to experimental research around end-of-life product recycling, Lund illustrates the importance of supporting corporate sustainability efforts.

Despite being a privately held company, we understand the value of transparency. In the article, Sustainability Chief, Jim Weglewski points out that Andersen is, “evolving as a leader in recognizing [that] the value of transparency outweighs the risks”.

To read the full article and hear more about our sustainability efforts, click here.

Eliza Clark Makes GreenBiz Twitterati Index

GreenBiz has come out with its second annual, exclusive Twitter Index and this year, Andersen’s very own Corporate Sustainability Manager, Eliza Clark, has made the list.

GreenBiz Twitterati takes into account more than just sustainability executives that are on Twitter, but rather ones that have an impressive ranking based on audience, activity and authority. Clark received a GreenBiz index of 42 under the Lurker category, which consists of professionals who observe other activities and professionals within the industry.

“It felt great to be mentioned in the GreenBiz Twitterati index,” says Clark. “I’ve only been tweeting as an individual since February of this year and I look forward to strengthening my connection with other sustainability thought leaders. Twitter is definitely a great way to share Andersen’s story.”

See other sustainability professionals and executives who made the list here.

The Nature Conservancy Presents at Renewal by Andersen

Since Andersen Windows’ founding over 110 years ago, its headquarters have been located on Minnesota’s scenic St. Croix River; because of this, Andersen has always had a beautiful reminder of how important it is to follow green practices in order to protect the river and surrounding environment.

Doug Shaw, Assistant State Director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota chapter, recently spoke at Renewal by Andersen as a part of Andersen’s Sustainability Learning Series.

In this presentation, Shaw covered the importance of protecting and sustaining rivers and water systems that surround us. According to him, “for every 10 percent decrease in forest cover, there is a 20 percent increase in water treatment costs”. In other words, when we protect our forests, we protect our water systems, and vice versa.

Why should we care? According to TNC’s website, www.nature.org, less than one percent of Earth’s freshwater is accessible, and our world’s population is only expected to rise. In the Twin Cities alone, 1.4 million people rely on the Mississippi River as their sole water supply, and by the year 2035, we can expect an additional 1 million residents to depend on the river as groundwater becomes unsustainable.

Shaw expressed the importance of watersheds, which are areas of land that drain rainwater or snow into one location such as a stream, lake or wetland. According to TNC, these systems provide drinking water, water for agriculture and manufacturing, offer opportunities for recreation and provide habitats to numerous plants and animals.

Andersen believes in the mission of TNC and has served as a corporate supporter of TNC’s work in Minnesota, including a new initiative on the St Croix River, for more than a decade. To learn more about the importance of our rivers, water systems and watersheds, visit http://www.nature.org/how-we-work/index.htm?intc=nature.tnav.how.

Andersen’s Sustainability Learning Series was launched in early 2014 in response to an employee survey that illustrated significant interest in ongoing learning about sustainability. To learn more about Andersen’s sustainability values, check out the 2013 Corporate Sustainability Report.

2013 Corporate Sustainability Report: A Window to a Better World

We’re proud to release our third annual Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR): A Window to a Better World. The CSR, highlights the long-standing values, commitments and practices that signify Andersen’s sustainability heritage.

We invite you to read our report  here and welcome your feedback!

Increasing Energy Efficiency in West Sedona

At Andersen Windows, we’re proud of our products and how far the company has come in innovative and sustainable window design. We are also ecstatic to be part of honorable building practices like this recent residential project in W. Sedona, Arizona by NRG Build Pros, LLC.

NRG experts Kris Husa and Pandora Harris chose Andersen’s 400-series windows for this home due to their outstanding energy performance. This series includes the most popular windows and patio doors offered by Andersen. According to a recent Brand Use Study conducted by Hanley-Wood and Builder Magazine, builders have recognized these clad-wood products as the #1 wood and clad-wood windows and doors.

Picture courtesy of NRG Build Pros, LLC

In addition to energy efficient windows, NRG added other sustainable features such as:

  • Low VOC paints and finishes
  • Recycled wood throughout the entire house
  • LED lighting
  • Recycled quartz countertops
  • Recycled bathtub made from volcanic ash

They even salvaged recyclable material from the job site and received the ‘Zero Waste Production in Residential Building Project’ award from Keeping Sedona Beautiful for being the first builders in Sedona to do so.

Not to mention, NRG Build Pros scored runner-up for the ‘Insulated Concrete Form Home’ award by ICF Builder Magazine at the 2014 international event, World of Concrete.

Going for the Gold

Sustainability at Andersen means more than just caring the environment; it also means taking care of our own, personal health.

This year, we are introducing the Go Gold Fitness Challenge, a program meant to influence our employees and spouses on Andersen’s medical plan to resist winter hibernation and get their bodies moving.

This 42-day fitness challenge has been designed to keep us motivated and active during the winter months, teach us how to incorporate exercise into our daily routines and inspire us to make fitness a priority all year.

Each individual has the goal to accumulate at least 30 medals throughout the challenge by recording their daily exercise minutes. Depending on how long one exercises each day, they can receive one of three medals:

  • Bronze – for 30-44 minutes of exercise per day
  • Silver – for 45-59 minutes of exercise per day or…
  • Gold – for 60 or more minutes of exercise per day

Each time someone records his or her daily exercise they are able to move forward in the challenge. A little friendly competition is also being encouraged through the use of teams. These teams can have anywhere from four to six people and help to motivate individuals to push themselves further in their daily exercise routines.

A+ Health fleece blankets will be given as prizes to 25 random participants from the top 10 online teams.

How do you stay motivated to stay active in the winter? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Spreading the Word: Sustainability

We take sustainability seriously at Andersen Windows, and recently decided to share these priorities with our employees. The Corporate Sustainability team conducted a two-week study at our location in Bayport, Minn., which included the participation of 100 employees.

For the study, each participant was given a miniature trashcan (6 inches high, 5 ½ inches in diameter) that only held roughly 48 fluid ounces. The challenge was to refrain from having to empty the bin during the two-week experiment by finding ways to reduce trash production and increase recycling and reuse.

Impressively, despite the length of the challenge and the size of each trashcan, 28 percent of survey respondents only needed to empty their bin one time, while 33 percent never had to empty it at all.

The study found that the most common waste items included food waste, packaging and disposable dinnerware. Communications Coordinator and challenge participant, Terri Merrigan, said that while, “most of us have plastic containers we still use plastic wrap to cover our leftovers and other items”.

The challenge’s follow-up survey revealed that nearly nine out of 10 responding participants felt that the challenge pushed them to think about the waste they typically produce and helped them think up ways to reduce that waste in the office and at home.

The Corporate Sustainability team hopes to take this challenge to other Andersen locations in 2014, starting with Renewal by Andersen in Cottage Grove, Minn. What are some ways you’ve found to decrease your trash production? Share them with us in the comments below.

Building Sustainability One Home at a Time

The City of Minneapolis is leading a mission to increase sustainability and revitalize North Minneapolis by building 100 new and sustainable homes on vacant, city-owned lots. The city partnered with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, Family Housing Fund and Twin Cities Community Land Bank to fund this endeavor.

The project, Green Homes North, which began in 2012, is inspired by an affordable and energy-efficient housing development known as the Hawthorne Eco Village, also located in a Minneapolis neighborhood. With two homes completed so far, and majority of them in the final stages of construction, these homes are expected to hit the market in early 2014.

The homes use ENERGY STAR® appliances and lighting, Green Label carpet and durable exteriors as well as many other sustainable features. They are also constructed to meet either Minnesota Green Communities standards as developed by the State of Minnesota or certified as LEED for Homes.

The project is meant to provide families with well-constructed, beautiful homes at an affordable price. They are also conveniently located near downtown Minneapolis, making transportation easier and more affordable for those who work downtown.

Andersen Windows is one of many Minnesota companies to contribute to this project. The company’s 200-Series windows were installed in some of the homes, which help to increase energy-efficiency. Andersen considers several elements to determine the efficiency of its windows including:

  • U-Factor, which indicates how well a product prevents heat from escaping
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, which measures how well a product blocks heat caused by sunlight
  • Visible Transmittance, which refers to how much visible light comes through a product

Check out Green Home North’s video about the development and hear what current residents have to say about their experience.

GREENBUILD – Bigger and Bolder!

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently held their annual Greenbuild convention in Philadelphia, PA. Over 1,000 exhibitors and 30,000 attendees filled the enormous convention center with energy – an energy focused on reducing energy usage!

The building industry alone is the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Greenbuild, along with USGBC and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings work to reduce the impacts that buildings have on the environment. However, they go beyond just addressing energy consumption. Sustainable building practices also address community and occupants’ health and well-being.

The USGBC launched the long-awaited and much anticipated new LEED v4 at Greenbuild. The most notable changes include greater focus towards transparency around products affecting human health. In LEED v4, building material transparency, healthy indoor air quality and occupants’ exterior views of natural environments, are valued and can help gain points within the rating system. This transparency is achieved through new product labels such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs). These declarations help consumers understand the full health and environmental impacts of products

By working together we can achieve transformational change. Increased collaboration between manufacturers, supply chains, builders and architects fosters transparency and helps reduce the negative impacts buildings have on the environment, occupants and communities and helps to improve them!

Green Building, Politicians and Rockstars!

….that could only mean one thing – GREENBUILD 2013! The largest conference dedicated to green building takes place the week of November 18, 2013 in Philadelphia, PA. Over 30,000 attendees from over 90 countries will gather to learn, teach and collaborate. Attendees, along with 1,000 exhibitors, work towards improving our built environment and the surrounding communities.

This year’s lineup of speakers is as impressive as always. Hillary Rodham Clinton leads the opening plenary, followed by a performance by green building proponent and rocker Jon Bon Jovi! Other speakers include leading statistician, political forecaster, author and Founder of FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver and Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030. A plethora of education sessions offer continuing education opportunities for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professionals. These sessions focus on areas of building performance, sustainable design, post-carbon economy and so much more. Additionally, all day summits address topics such as affordable housing, climate policy, materials and human health. There’s definitely something for everyone!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) – the non-profit organization behind Greenbuild. The USGBC, who also oversees LEED, will release the long-awaited LEED v4 at Greenbuild.

If you’re attending this year’s green building conference (celebration!), please stop by and visit us! You can find Andersen Corporation at booth #1313 and follow us on Twitter @AW­_inournature.