ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Awards

A flurry of social media amped up the evening of March 26 as minute by minute details of the ENERGY STAR® awards in Washington D.C. played out real-time via Twitter throughout the evening. Andersen’s own Jim Weglewski, director of corporate quality and sustainability, was quoted on the popular social media site.

Weglewski and other Andersen executives were in attendance to witness the company’s recognition as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence winner for the second year in a row. There was no shortage of excitement and ENERGY throughout the event.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a statement recognizing the efforts of the 2013 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year. “This year’s ENERGY STAR award winners have gone above and beyond to save energy and cut greenhouse gases,” said EPA acting administrator, Bob Perciasepe.

During his remarks at the event, Perciasepe stated that in 2012 alone Americans, along with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved $24 billion on energy bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 41 million vehicles. Andersen Corporation is proud to be recognized by ENERGY STAR with this distinguished award for continued leadership in helping to protect the environment through superior energy efficiency and performance.

“ENERGY STAR” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Andersen wins ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award…again!

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Andersen Corporation with a 2013 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. This marks the second consecutive year Andersen has received the Sustained Excellence Award.

Andersen is recognized for outstanding contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by educating consumers on ENERGY STAR through product displays, social media, training materials and more. The award honors our ongoing commitment to energy-efficient product performance and reduced environmental impact through state-of-the-art manufacturing processes.

“Andersen’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship is a part of our heritage. It’s in our nature, our company culture and every product we create,” said Sal Abbate, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s an honor we all share to be acknowledged for our environmental responsibility by ENERGY STAR with the Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award.”

 Andersen has been part of the ENERGY STAR program since its inception in 1998 and was the first window manufacturer awarded the ENERGY STAR National Window Partner of the Year in 1999.

The Future of Buildings

The U.S. Green Building Council MN Chapter held its quarterly sustainability meeting this past month. Presenter Patrick Thibaudeau, vice president of HGA Architects and Engineers, offered a sneak preview into the potential future landscape around sustainability. Weaving innovation, time and the purpose of buildings into the mix quickly conjured images of how we might live and work differently than today.  

Thibaudeau reminded us that “change will never again be as slow as it is today.” What does this mean for emerging green building technologies and their relationships with people? Some buildings are already producing rather than consuming energy. These buildings incorporate biomimicry, utilize renewable energy over fossil-derived fuels, harvest rain water, produce zero waste and interact with, rather than against, their surroundings. Additionally, the use of natural lighting and ventilation positively affects occupants. It seems these “emerging green building technologies” aren’t so new at all – but enhance what is natural and basic.

How will people and buildings interact in the coming decades? How will buildings affect our productivity and our health, happiness and overall well-being? After taking a short ride into the future it seems we could soon inhabit buildings that look, act and feel completely different than those around us today…exciting!

What future-state building technologies are you most interested in pursuing?

A Special Retirement

Andersen employees celebrated a very special retirement this week. Many gathered and watched as the last Andersen Narroline double-hung window rolled off the production line in Bayport, Minnesota. Recognized as the first clad wood window in the market, this marks the end to one of the most successful building products ever produced. During its 50 year history, more than 50 million Andersen Narroline window units have been installed in homes across the United States and abroad.

The Narroline window, which rolled out in February 1962, was completely factory assembled, packed two to a carton, and featured primed exterior frame parts. It’s relatively humble beginnings started when then Chief Engineer and head of research and development Vern Fredrickson announced to his small staff of four that he was designing a new Narroline window. Two days later, he handed the sketches over to the product designers to work out the details. In four years, the Andersen Narroline window would become the first clad wood window product ever produced by any manufacturer when Andersen introduced exterior cladding to the industry with its Perma-Shield® cladding system in 1966. “We’ve made product enhancements to the Narroline window since ’66, but it’s pretty much the same window to this day. A work horse — simple design, easy to install and reliable performance” said Pat Vogler, vice president of Operations at Andersen.

But the Narroline double-hung window’s popularity waned as Andersen launched other double-hung products beginning in 1993. Succeeding the Narroline window are the 400 Series tilt-wash double-hung, 200 Series tilt-wash double-hung, Woodwright® double-hung, A-Series double-hung and 100 Series single-hung window products.

Visit KSTP here to read their story or read what Business Journal had to say here! Send us your own farewells here!

2013 Legislative Preview

Just as 2012 was coming to an end Environmental Initiative hosted their popular 2013 Legislative Preview. Guests eager to hear from a variety of Minnesota Senators and Representatives packed the University Club in downtown St. Paul, MN. Two panel discussions covered the topics of “Land, Water & Natural Resources” and “Energy & Transportation.”

To set the stage, there was a brief overview of the 2013 Budget Forecast. Among the notable facts shared was this: less than 1 percent of the total state budget is directed towards environment, energy and natural resources. In all fairness, the number increases to 3.2 percent with the contribution of federal dollars. Therefore it’s helpful to realize, as Representative Melissa Hortman District 36B explained, our lowest cost form of new energy in our system is weatherization and efficiency.

The discussions continued with a focus on energy efficiency. This approach is most effective in cost savings as well as reduced energy consumption, directly resulting in a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Representative Hortman listed the top three ways to achieve this goal: better building codes, appliance efficiency standards and more efficient vehicles.

It’s clear why this event is so well attended. State Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle talk amicably about environmental issues and solutions we all face together.

Happy New Year!

Whether or not you enjoy making New Year’s resolutions, the start of a new year is a great time to rethink our daily routine. When addressing topics related to sustainability, the multitude of environmental, social and economic issues can quickly overwhelm our mere mortal limitations.

Good news: There are small, easy things we can do every day that make a difference! Take a gander at the list below, make your own list or partake in a friendly competition with your friends!

Buy less stuff – quality over quantity.

Buy used – one-of-a-kind finds at big savings!

Re-gift – declutter and repurpose unused treasures.

Reusable bags – you’ll like ’em better!

Buy local goods – support your communities.

Buy local and seasonal foods – help your health!

Go outside – rediscover nature, even in the city.

Drive less – batch errands and try biking – it’s more fun!

Recycle – donate unused stuff.

Give back – support organizations aligned with your values.

We’ve heard it a million times: “It’s the small things that matter most in life.” Equally, it’s the small actions we do daily that will change the world.

Celebrating 20 years of Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Initiative (EI) celebrated its 20th anniversary last week with a warm reception in their cool warehouse space in downtown Minneapolis, MN. The foot and a half of fresh snow didn’t deter guests from attending the open house. Stories were shared of past accomplishments, current projects and future goals, all of which support their mission of tackling complex environmental issues through partnerships.

Georgia serves treats!

Awards were presented to 2012 Board Member of the Year (Susan Schmidt) and Member of the Year (Stan Mierzejewski), along with an Environmental Legacy Award given to long-time member and staff Ron Nargang., In collaboration with many corporate and individual members, these folks have worked to help facilitate partnerships between non-profits, business and government leaders.  

One of EI’s most notable accomplishments is Project Green Fleet. Environmental Initiative won the National Clean Air Excellence Award, among others, for the role they played in providing free or low-cost diesel engine retrofits to transportation fleets. This project alone resulted in a substantial reduction of airborne pollutants. Other accomplishments addressed reduction of mercury and carbon dioxide as well as shaping legislation to help facilitate additional improvements. The efforts and accomplishments by Environmental Initiative directly align with Andersen’s values of corporate citizenship, partnership and innovation. We’re grateful for their work and continue to support the mission.

Product Labeling

Andersen Corporation and its peers are collaboratively developing the window industry’s first product category rules (PCRs) for North America. These rules are designed to help guide and shape the future of product labeling. The intent is to provide a more uniform way for manufacturers to communicate the environmental impacts of their products.

Making the most environmentally conscious purchase is not easy! With hundreds of eco-labels found on store shelves, consumers are often left with more questions than clarity. Enter the alternative – an environmental product declaration (EPD). These labels differ from certifications as they’re designed to report facts (data) as opposed to certifying superiority in a single area. They’re similar to the nutrition labels found on packaged food. Rather than listing calories, carbohydrates and fat content, an EPD will list water consumption, energy use and greenhouse gas potential, for example. Along with providing clarity for eco-conscious consumers, EPDs can help drive product improvements.  

An industry’s PCR must be in place before an EPD can be issued. Other countries including France, Germany and Japan are further along in development and use of product category rules and environmental product declarations. Canada and the United States are quickly getting up to speed. Andersen is pleased to be working with the window industry in developing the first window PCR for North America. We look forward to continually learning about and improving them, and ultimately lessening our environmental impact.

Greenbuild: Product Transparency

The 11th annual U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC’s) Greenbuild Conference and Expo took place this month in San Francisco, CA. It is the largest green building expo in the world, and while the official numbers are not in yet, most agree they’ll far exceed last years’ 23,000 attendees in Toronto. The resounding theme this year was clear – transparency.

During the opening plenary, USGBC President and CEO Rick Fredrizzi announced Google’s $3 million donation to spur transparency in building materials. The donation supports efforts to reduce toxins and improve indoor air quality. The theme continued on the expo floor as vendors displayed programs and software systems that track material ingredients and resource consumption.

When it comes to environmentally friendly products, there’s no shortage of labels, certifications and programs aiming to make the selection easier and more transparent for consumers. Attempts to simplify the confusing world of single attribute green certifications by evolving toward a more holistic approach of product labeling, turns out to offer many options as well.

Philippe Cousteau, Jr. speaking at Greenbuild

The intended end result of increased transparency, reduced material consumption and lower impacts is the right thing to do. The way in which manufacturers choose to reach this goal can vary. Complex products, global companies and a basic definition of terms make achieving transparency not so clear. Andersen Corporation supports increased transparency and is participating in an industry collaborative to develop product category rules (PCRs) that lend uniformity to the process. Stay tuned to this blog for more information about PCRs and product labeling.

Greenbuild Bound

The much anticipated, well attended annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo will take place next week, November 14 -16 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. The event is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building and is hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).


Multiple tours, summits and educational sessions are offered. Workshops dedicated to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) offer continuing education for LEED accredited professionals and those wanting to learn more about the rating system for green buildings. Experts will touch on topics ranging from water and energy use to social responsibility and global sustainability.

One thousand exhibitors will share their knowledge and products to over 20,000 attendees from over one hundred countries. Architects, builders, contractors, engineers, students, designers, developers, manufacturers and more will gather to share their passion, learn from each other. They will also promote the mission of the USGBC – to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.