323

Million KWh's

CRH helped avoid 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2020, equivalent to taking 217,480 passenger cars off the road for one year

50.75%

Increase

46% of CRH’s 2020 revenue (p. 5) came from sustainable products

16.26%

Reduction

CRH donated $8.3 million (p. 5) to local organizations and initiatives in 2020


The Path to Drawdown: Grid Expansion

Construction and buildings account for 38% of the total global CO2 emissions and 35% of total energy use. Much of this energy-use in buildings is the result of heating and air-conditioning, lighting, information and communications systems, security and access systems, fire alarms, elevators, appliances, and indirectly through plumbing.

In most buildings, some of the energy used in heating and cooling the interior is wasted through windows. Windows, even when closed, are far less efficient than insulated walls at keeping room temperature in and outside temperature out - by a factor of ten or more.

High-performance glass solves this problem by replacing conventional plain glass. High-performance glass uses any of several technologies that can reduce heat flow through glass, including multiple layers, low-emissivity glass, tinted glass, and vacuum glazing.

High-performance glass is already widely adopted in wealthy countries. In the rest of the world, a faster and wider installation of high-performance glass can help reduce a substantial amount of GHG emissions by 2050: 

  • In 2018, 5 billion square meters of high-performance glass was installed in residential buildings, and 130 million sq. meters in commercial buildings
  • By 2050, 13.7 billion sq meters should be installed in residential buildings and 7.5 billion sq meters in commercial buildings

If this scale can be achieved by 2050, high-performance glass can avoid 12.6 gigatons of emissions and save $3.9 trillion in energy costs over building lifetimes for an installation cost of $10.8 trillion.

About

CRH Plc (stock ticker: CRH) is an international group of diversified building materials businesses that manufactures and supplies a wide range of products for the construction industry. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, they operate in 29 countries and sell their products in Europe and the United States.

CRH's Role in Drawdown

CRH sells a long list of products for the construction industry. Their heavy-side materials include aggregates, cement, asphalt, ready-mix concrete, architectural concrete, and precast concrete. Their light-side products include glass and glazing systems, construction accessories, shutters and awnings, perimeter protection products, and network access products.

Many of these products (p. 26) help reduce carbon emissions from buildings. Some notable sustainability-enhancing products are their high-performance glass and glazing products that incorporate innovative thermal break technologies for superior thermal performance while letting in sunlight and allowing ventilation. They also include concrete that harnesses the thermal mass property for improved building energy efficiency.

CRH: What We Like

CRH is leading their industry’s response to the challenge of climate change through the Global Cement and Concrete Association’s 2050 Climate Ambition (p. 11) which aspires to deliver carbon neutral concrete by 2050.

To this end, CRH is currently partnering (p. 33) with a low-carbon cement technology manufacturer to pilot new technology that would allow for a 30-40% reduction in CO2 emissions during the manufacturing process.

Also as part of this process, they’re researching, developing and applying new technologies (p. 71) in areas including carbon capture, storage and use, re-carbonization, alternative materials and process changes that will be required to achieve this ambition. The use of 2.1 million tonnes of alternative fuels (p. 31) like biomass, solid recovered fuels, waste tires, solvents and used oil also helps CRH reach this goal.

Beyond these innovations, CRH has hit several of their previous sustainability targets in recent years achievements (p. 7):

  • Avoided 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2020
  • Reduced NOx emissions by 22% since 2006
  • Reduced water intake by 59% through recycling
  • Recycled 36.5 million tonnes of material in 2020

They have committed to going further toward sustainability by setting several targets for the rest of this decade:

  • To reduce CO2 by 33%, to less than 520 kg net CO2 per tonne of cementitious products by 2030
  • To increase their share of revenue from products with enhanced sustainability attributes to 50% by 2025

CRH: What We Want to See Improve

Reduce Absolute Emissions


We are impressed by CRH’s sustainability targets and achievements so far. But until now, the company has focused on reducing their carbon emissions intensity (carbon emissions per ton of products). We want them to set even bolder targets by focusing on absolute reductions by the end of the decade.

Accelerate Low-Carbon Cement Development


We are very excited about CRH’s initiative to innovate lower-emission cement. As such, we want them to speed up their innovation so that they can achieve the promised 30-40% reduction in carbon emissions during the manufacturing process. Beyond using alternative fuel, alternative materials, carbon capture, storage and use, we encourage CRH to explore other decarbonization techniques like the electrification of kilns.

Push Suppliers to Reduce Emissions


CRH has a large number of suppliers (p. 102) across different geographic areas and industries. And we are encouraged by their Supplier Code of Conduct (p. 3) that sets out their expectation for suppliers to “support a proactive approach” to energy optimization, resource efficiency, waste management and recycling. But we want CRH to go a step further by using more specific language around these expectations. In particular, we want to see CRH to nudge suppliers to reduce their GHG emissions within a well-specified near-term time frame.

Other High performance glass Stocks in the Climate Index

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