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AGC Glass Europe as an energy intensive industry uses both fuel and natural gas and emits CO2 from the use of these fossil fuels and carbon-containing raw material. However, most of the products marketed by AGC have a positive impact on the environment because they save energy and avoid CO2 emissions over their lifetime (insulating glass units, solar control glass, photovoltaic glass, etc).

We closely monitor the CO2 emissions from our direct operations on a monthly and annual basis. This includes the CO2 emissions linked to the energy consumption and chemical reactions during production. 

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In addition we monitor the total carbon footprint of AGC Glass Europe’s operations on a three-year basis. In this case the CO2 sources comprise all direct and indirect emissions and so cover a much broader scope than the monthly monitoring, including scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emissions. This includes among things travel by our staff, glass transport to clients and all other sources of CO2, from extraction of natural resources to the end-of-life stage of the products.

This assessment is based on a top-down analysis of flows of materials and energy and is supported by a bottom-up Life Cycle Analysis of our products, materials and energy.

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AGC’s first carbon footprint was performed in 2009 and is repeated every three years. Guided by the GHG Protocol, the assessment shows that the CO2 emissions of the whole value chain have been kept the same even in a difficult industry context. 

Results show that emissions from Scope 1 (direct emissions from flat glass production) account for more than half of the total emissions. The remaining footprint is related with the generation of electricity in different countries (Scope 2) as well as during the production and transport of the raw materials (Scope 3) which are needed to manufacture AGC glass. 

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Calculating AGC’s carbon footprint is therefore an appropriate way to consider the total impact, taking into account on the one hand the CO2 emitted by all activities of AGC Glass Europe during one year and on the other the savings achieved through the use of the products manufactured within this year during their entire lifetime (Figure 1).

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Sustainablity AGC glass

 

Illustration of the total carbon balance. Source: Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and reporting Standard. Greenhouse Gas Protocol. World Resources Institute & WBCSD. 2011. www.ghgprotocol.org. 

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Many products marketed by AGC make it possible to reduce the energy consumption and the CO2 emissions of users:

  • insulating glass: AGC has developed a full range of high performance double and triple glazing, for use both in residential and in commercial buildings. Depending on the product and the geographical region these glazings help to keep the heat inside (so reducing the need for heating) or to keep it outside (so reducing the need for cooling). Both heating and cooling consume energy (and thus lead to CO2 emissions), so reducing these needs makes it possible to avoid CO2 emissions.
  • appliance glazing: thanks to its specific coatings, AGC is one of the leaders on the market for glass for doors of commercial refrigeration appliances: chilled display cabinets and freezers that are common in supermarkets for sale of dairy products, produce, food and beverages. Fitting glass doors to these appliances allows the products to be displayed clearly while saving large quantities of energy.
  • solar glass: AGC produces building-integrated photovoltaic glass, solar mirrors etc. Our glass is used to generate “green” electricity, so reducing the consumption of standard electricity (generated from fossil fuels). 
  • IRIS car windshields: AGC has developed a special coating for windshields that keeps out some of the solar heat, thus reducing the need for air conditioning. This saving in air conditioning means a consequent saving in fuel, so further avoiding CO2 emissions.
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All these products are described in detail in “Products”.

For the purposes of calculating energy savings afforded by glazing on buildings, Europe has been divided into seven climate zones based on the climate in representative cities: 

  • North – Helsinki
  • East – Moscow
  • Central – Prague
  • Central Continental – Frankfurt
  • Central Maritime – Brussels
  • South – Rome
  • South Central – Sofia 

Taking into account the heating/cooling energy needed per climate zone according to climate data, the kWh/m².year saved by renovation or construction of new buildings to higher standards, the average lifetime of buildings in Europe and the relevant emission factors, it is possible to calculate the tonnes of CO2 avoided thanks to our Insulating Glass products.

For all the products manufactured by AGC in 2015, we calculated that the amount of CO2 avoided was around 34,500,000 tonnes.

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On the other hand AGC Glass Europe is also responsible for CO2 emissions (to produce all products, and not only the ones leading to CO2 savings). For instance (see figure):

  • Energy consumed on sites: heavy oil, natural gas, light oil, electricity etc. All these forms of energy cause CO2 emissions during their production and use.
  • Carbonate raw materials that release CO2 when they are melted to form glass.
  • Transport of raw materials from suppliers to AGC sites (by truck, train or boat).
  • Transport of the products to the customers or internally from plant to plant (by truck, train or boat).
  • Transport of AGC employees (between home and work, or for business trips).
  • Transport and disposal of waste sent to landfill or incinerated.
  • Product end-of-life (transport and disposal of products at end of life).
  • Energy needed to produce/extract raw materials and energy used on sites. 

The range of different flows (e.g. heavy oil, electricity, natural gas etc.) and the emission factors for the type of allocated activity (e.g. transport, production, extraction etc.) give us calculated emissions of around 3,400,000 tonnes of CO2. The direct emissions (scope 1) accounted for almost 55% (scope 1), while the indirect emissions (scope 2 and 3) accounted for 15% and 31% respectively. AGC Glass Europe uses the GHG Protocol methodology for the calculation of its Carbon Footprint.

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carbon footprint scheme

System boundary of the CO2 footprint. 

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For each tonne of CO2 emitted by AGC Glass Europe activities,
nearly 10 tonnes of CO2 are saved thanks to the use of our products!

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Calculating both emissions and savings leads to a final result of 1:10 (i.e. 3,400,000 tonnes of CO2 vs. 34,500,000 tonnes), meaning that for each tonne of CO2 emitted by AGC Europe activities, nearly 10 tonnes of CO2 are saved thanks to the use of our products!

The ratio and - on the basis of the same perimeter - the  results have improved since 2009.
 
This of course is a very encouraging result, showing that even a “heavy” industry such as ours can have large overall benefits for society! 

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