The Path to Drawdown: Insulation
Buildings and construction account for about 38% of the total global CO2 emissions and 35% of total energy use. Much of this energy is used to heat and cool a home, but a sizable amount of it (25-60% of that energy) is wasted through air infiltration, or heat escaping from warmer areas to cooler areas.
Better insulation of building envelopes can reduce escaping heat. Insulation is the use of high levels of improved materials in buildings that resist heat flow and regulate indoor temperatures. Ideally, insulation should cover all sides of a building, from the bottom floor, exterior walls, to the roof. Insulation should also be continuous - sealing gaps and cracks is critical to a more thermal resistant building envelope.
Insulation is one of the cheapest and most practical solutions to make buildings more energy efficient, both in new construction and through retrofitting older buildings that are often not well insulated. This also means lower utility bills, keeping out moisture, improving air quality and avoiding GHG emissions associated with energy use.
Project Drawdown estimates that, in 2018, 30% of buildings worldwide were insulated. If existing residential and commercial buildings in temperate and tropical countries install insulation (with low carbon materials) at a rate of 1.6 - 2% every year, between 17 - 19 gigatons of GHG emissions can be avoided by 2050.
Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. (stock ticker: BECN) is the largest publicly traded distributor of roofing materials and complementary building products in the United States and Canada. They provide commercial and residential roofing, siding, windows, decking, insulation, specialty lumber, waterproofing, and air barrier systems. They are headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, and went public in 2004.
BECN's Role in Drawdown
Beacon’s product portfolio (p. 2) includes residential and commercial roofing products as well as complementary building products. As part of their product lines, they offer a wide range of insulation for both residential and non-residential buildings from major manufacturers.
The types of insulation they provide include roll, batt, blown-in insulation, fiberglass, foam board, mineral wool, spray foam, and radiant barriers.
BECN: What We Like
We commend Beacon for taking some steps toward improving their environmental sustainability.
- They are a member of the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association, which promotes and defends the environmentally sound recycling of more than 50 million tons of recoverable construction and demolition materials that are generated in the US annually.
- Replace existing warehouse lighting with high-efficiency LED lighting to reduce energy usage.