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.

Corporate Sustainability – Measuring Success

Just as companies are identifying and describing what it means to be sustainable,

The New Metrics of Sustainable Business

The New Metrics of Sustainable Business

 they’re encountering the next hurdle – measuring their sustainability efforts. Sustainable Brands held their 3rd annual conference around this topic – The New Metrics of Sustainable Business – this month in Philadelphia, PA. Sustainable brands looks at how leveraging sustainability as a core driver of business can help achieve a sustainable economy.

A truly sustainable organization takes a triple bottom line approach, which means the organization equally values people, the environment and profit. To be successful in this, the organization must be able to measure each component. Metrics used to measure energy and water consumption have been in place for years. However, for organizations with multiple facilities drawing from varying energy grids, it quickly becomes more complicated than simply reading utility bills. Furthermore, calculating a company’s overall carbon footprint includes all energy consumption, even air travel miles. This quickly can tax even the best of Excel spreadsheet gurus.

Measuring environmental impacts is only part of the sustainability equation. Human capital and social impacts must also be factored in, despite not owning real estate on traditional Profit and Loss (P&L) Statements. Figuring out ways in which to calculate these assets and impacts is specifically what this conference addresses.

It was a pleasure to attend and engage with speakers from Interface, Ben & Jerry’s, Walt Disney and Microsoft sharing stories of success and challenges along our respective sustainability journeys.

Solar Power to Live By

The U.S Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2013 kicked off this week in Irvine, California. Since 2002, this event has been held every two years. This year marks the first time it’s been held outside the Washington, DC area in one of the sunniest spots in the country: Orange County, California.

Competing in Solar Decathlon 2013 are 20 teams from across the U.S. and as far away as the Czech Republic. Teams are chosen from hundreds of student teams from universities and colleges across the globe. Participating teams are charged with building a solar powered home from designing and sourcing all the way through construction.

Mayor of Irvine, Steven Choi, described the event as “a two year journey of hardSolar Decathlon ribbon cutting work and innovation.” He helped open the event with a ribbon cutting Thursday morning. During the event, teams were recognized for their creativity, enthusiasm and commitment to zero energy living.

Over the next 10 days, the homes will be evaluated for their performance and teams will be asked to showcase the function of each dwelling’s systems by holding dinner parties and a movie night. Andersen is pleased to be a sponsor of Stanford University’s SmartHome, which contains Andersen 100 Series windows and a five-panel Folding Panel Door. 

The Solar Decathlon, along the Enivronmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program, are ways in which energy efficiency is promoted throughout the country. Good luck to Stanford and all of this year’s competitors!

Setting Goals That Matter: A Sustainability Toolkit

Environmental Initiative (EI) held its second of three Business and Environment Series meetings this week. Hosted by Thomson Reuters of Eagan, MN, this event proved to be a favorite as eager attendees filled the room. The topic – Setting Goals That Matter: A Sustainability Toolkit.

Seasoned sustainability experts shared tools they use to find clarity and focus in a world of complexity. As clarity emerges, it becomes easier to set meaningful goals and identify strategies, all creating value for an organization’s internal and external stakeholders. Chuck Bennett, retired VP of Earth and Community Care at Aveda, gave an overview of setting goals that matter. Jim Weglewski, VP of Quality, Sustainability and Facilities at Andersen Corporation, highlighted the skills and benefits of affinity mapping and Senior Manager Sustainability at TENNANT Company, Stan Mierzejewski, walked through assessing materiality using The Metrics Navigator tool™ offered by Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI). A sustainability specific twist to the traditional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats tool — sSWOT — was presented by EI’s own Georgia Rubenstein. The sSWOT tool was developed by World Resources Institute and can found here. The final tool offered in the day’s hefty toolkit was that of Net Impact, showcased by advocate Darren McGann, Sustainability Manager at KPMG.

The morning was full of learning new tools, which have been proven to help users gain focus and traction along the sustainability journey. These tools help identify what’s material to an organization, in other words the common ground between things that matter and things that your organization can control. This area defined as material is precisely where the biggest gains towards a more sustainable business can be made. Visit EI’s website for more details on the toolkit you won’t want to live (and work) without!