Committed to sustainability

How we make greener & healthier products

At Knauf Insulation, we understand that the average person spends up to 90% of their life indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 72% of the total chemical exposure experienced in a lifetime comes from indoor sources. Products that make up a building's construction can be sources of that exposure.

We believe it is in the best interest of public welfare and the environment to eliminate and reduce negative impacts associated with building materials. That’s why we are proud to be the first US company to provide a formaldehyde-free bio-based binder for all of our insulation products.

Our number one priority is to provide products that conserve energy and preserve natural resources for a sustainable future.

Throughout all the life cycle stages, we are committed to making our products greener and more sustainable. Below you’ll find some of the things we do to fulfill this commitment.

Raw Material Acquisition

Utilize recycled content

Our plants use 60 – 80% recycled content – which translates to about 10 railcars of recycled glass cullet a day. By leveraging so much recycled content, we reduce the energy required to form glass fibers by 20%. If we use even 60% recycled content, then mining impacts are reduced proportionately. 

Pursue sequestration potential

Knauf’s bio-based ECOSE Technology is derived from corn. The Knauf Family Farm produces the same amount of corn we use on an annual basis, which is equal to 15,000 acres. While growing our own corn is not currently part of the life cycle assessment of our products in North America, we have the potential of growing the very corn that we use in our products. Life cycle analysis suggests about a 9% reduction in our manufacturing operation from the sequestration impacts of the corn growth cycle. If that corn and stubble were completely used in our ECOSE formulation, then corn absorption of carbon might be a plausible approach to help meet the zero carbon goals of our company.

Manufacturing

Develop bio-based formaldehyde-free binder

In 2008, Knauf Insulation launched perhaps the nation’s largest formaldehyde-free green chemistry initiative called ECOSE Technology. Offering this into the building materials marketplace quickly transformed the entire glass mineral fiber industry toward bio-based chemistries. Today phenol-formaldehyde (PF) based resins are largely a thing of the past with regard to large volume mineral fiber based insulation products. Knauf has also launched a new business venture to assist other industries in accessing ECOSE Technology for their processes.

In a given year, using corn-based ECOSE Technology instead of phenol & formaldehyde avoids the equivalent of more than 100,000 barrels of oil in North America alone.

Lead green chemistry efforts

Following the launch of our ECOSE Technology in 2009, we had transformed all of our products and processes to this new technology. Using our bio-based ECOSE Technology has removed phenol and formaldehyde from our stack emissions. By 2012, the entire industry had followed our lead. This initiative not only established Knauf Insulation in a leadership position, but it had a transformative impact on our industry in general. 

Green manufacturing Processes

1. Regenerative thermal oxidizers Knauf Insulation uses regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTO) to capture and recycle much of the energy we used to cure our products. RTO is equipment used for the treatment of exhaust air. Our ovens exhaust into a ceramic heat exchange media to capture and reuse the heat in the exhausted air. Therefore, the amount of energy required to cure our product is reduced substantially.

2. Recycling As you can see below, everything we do starts with recycling. Our plant uses as much as 80% recycled content. While our only option is to landfill our products at end of life, that doesn’t stop us from encouraging consumers to recycle other products, particularly glass bottles.



Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is key to our sustainable development. Globally, our company maintains the following Bureau Veritas certifications: ISO 9000, 14000, and 50001. These certifications relate to quality management systems, energy management and environmental management efforts. For more information on our current continuous improvement efforts, please review the Knauf Insulation global sustainability report.

Transportation

Leverage compression packaging

Glass is a high modulus material, which helps to facilitate compression packaging. We compress our insulation to fit up to five times more product on every truck. This compression means:

  • More material can fit on one truck when compared to other insulation materials
  • Fewer packages on a job
  • Fewer deliveries needed
Installation and Maintenance

Be confident in glass mineral wool's safety

In the past, a label regarding the carcinogenic potential of insulation made from glass fibers was required on all packaging. Following forty years of research, glass mineral wool has been exonerated entirely. Glass mineral wool is comprised of fibers that are biosoluble, meaning that the fibers dissolve in the body in a short period of time and exit the body with normal bodily functions. The scrutiny glass mineral wool has undergone is now seen as proof of its safety.

Meet and exceed green standards

GREENGUARD certified On the forefront of indoor air quality, Knauf Insulation was the first GREENGUARD certified product in 2002. This achievement led us to understand the impact our formaldehyde-free products could have on the indoor environment. Today, we have the largest offering of interior friendly products available in the mineral fiber market, meeting the GREENGUARD Gold designation. The formaldehyde-free claim is third party validated by UL Environment.

Red List Free Since 2012, Knauf Insulation North America has used the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List as our developmental benchmark. The Red List is a list of chemicals that are avoided in material imperative for the construction of LBC buildings. Formaldehyde is just one of about 800 chemicals on the Red List. Today, no other insulation company comes close to the sustainable development achieved by Knauf in this regard.


EUCEB tested Glass fiber is perhaps the most widely studied building material available today. All of our processes and formulations are voluntarily third-party audited for compliance with the health and safety exoneration criteria for glass and rock based fiber through the European Certification Board for Mineral Wool Products (EUCEB) exoneration process. This guarantees the formulations are biosoluble and pose no serious health concerns. While competing insulation technologies other than glass and rock fiber might claim they are safer, the reality is that they have not been tested. We consider the scrutiny once given our technology to be a differentiator. 

Green building rating systems

Our products offer a vast array of potential credits for major green building rating systems, including: WELL, LEED v4, International Green Construction Code, Green Guide for Heath Care, NAHB Green Building Standard and more. 

Visit the green building rating systems page to see all the credits you can earn using Knauf Insulation products.

Disposal

Promote Recycling

Knauf is a recycling advocate. We take every opportunity to advocate for recycling and financially support the Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC). We feel that a comprehensive understanding of the benefits of recycling will lead to greater recycling adoption and more promotion by state and local governments. While our only option is to landfill our products at end of life, that doesn’t stop us from encouraging consumers to recycle other products, particularly glass bottles.