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SAINT-GOBAIN's Learning - Isolons la terre

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Issues Addressed

  • Principle 7 - Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  • Principle 8 - Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
  • Principle 9 - Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

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Partnership Project

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Case Description

Saint-Gobain supplies many products that, in their function and composition, contribute to the protection of the environment (development of renewable energies and clean technologies, etc.). But it is above all because of its construction materials, mainly in the field of insulation and glass, that Saint-Gobain is helping to fight greenhouse gases.
Concerning thermal insulation, low emission double glazing is three times as efficient as traditional double glazing. If this glazing were used all over Europe in all existing residential buildings, 82 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) would be avoided, i.e. 9% of the emissions due to residential buildings and 2.7% of total emissions in Europe.
Its efficiency is similar to that of mineral wool. The energy balance shows that the energy saved on the heating of an insulated building is equivalent to one thousand times the energy consumed during production of the material.

Confronted by the challenges of global warming, the Group has thus decided to adopt a pro-active approach, in order to raise the awareness of public opinion about the dangers of CO2 emissions from buildings.
Thus, in France, the Insulation companies (Saint-Gobain Isover, Saint-Gobain Ecophon and Saint-Gobain Eurocoustic) and Glass companies (Saint-Gobain Glass) joined with other construction industry companies in 2004 to set up the “Isolons la Terre contre le CO2” Action Group. The objective of this action group is to propose and carry out a series of long term initiatives aimed at reducing the energy consumption of buildings, the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after transport. This initiative is clearly within the framework of the objective fixed by the French Prime Minister of dividing greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050.Several concrete proposals have already been made to the French State and professionals in the construction field concerning the equipment of new buildings and the renovation of existing ones:
1) Reduce the consumption of new buildings by 15% every 5 years, starting in 2005
2) Renovate and/or demolish, in order to reduce the energy consumption of 400,000 residential units per year, and an equivalent area in non-residential buildings, to 50 kWh of primary energy /m² per year (including renewable energy).
3) During renovation work, make obligatory the use of efficient products that are identical to those used for new buildings.
4) During renovation work, make obligatory the use of efficient products that are identical to those used for new buildings.
5) Back up this plan with financial measures appropriate to different configurations (subsidised loans, tax deductions, etc.)

Even if it is still too early to measure the first effects of these proposals, it may already be considered that this initiative will reinforce the responsibility and civic spirit of everyone concerned in the construction industry and of the general public.



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