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‘ROCKWOOL: Building the future, sustainably

 A 2050 decarbonized society can already be reached with the existing technologies

With so much information available about climate change and with the pressure on groups and individuals alike to increase their sustainable actions in both business and day-to-day living, it can be difficult to know what one can do to actively contribute to lasting and positive change in a practical way.Rockwool has taken an approach that is well worth examining. Aware of how the world is changing, with more than two-thirds of the human population currently residing in urban environments, the stone wool solutions company is focusing on ensuring that its practices are sustainable and that the products have a constructive effect on the way society lives.

Many buildings all over the world were constructed well before any sustainability goals were put in place and so need innovative and substantial overhaul to ensure that they are more in line with the standards of the modern day. Recent legislative efforts in the EU are already encouraging such renovation. All new buildings must be ‘nearly zero energy’, while all standing buildings must achieve the same standard by 2050.

Resembling candyfloss at its creation, where it is forged in volcanic heat, ‘stone wool’ is a well known, but at the same timeinnovative product, engineered by Rockwool to upgrade a building’s insulation properties and make the whole structure more efficient. Rockwool CEO, Jens Birgersson, points out the inherent circularity and versatility of the product. “We use an abundant raw material — 98 percent of the planet is basically rock – and use it create a range of products that help save energy and other natural resources. We also can mix waste streams from other industries into our production process and put it into our product together with the basic stone material.”

The material is not only used to insulate buildings in a way that is uniquely positive, but also in diverse applications such as substrate in horticulture, a way to manage excess rainwater in urban areas, as well as protecting people and assets from fire risks. Stone wool is a versatile material as Birgersson states. “It does something to save water, increase food production, save energy and reduce CO2. That’s why it’s inherently sustainable in its impact and in its use.”

Rockwool is embracing the circular economy approach of ensuring that waste is not ignored and that the company’s process is highly sustainable. Mirella Vitale CMO at Rockwool explains. “Stone wool can actually be taken back at the end of use and recycled and reused. The insulation, for example, can be infinitely recycled without any loss of performance, while other products like our Grodan horticultural substrates are often recycled in brickmaking.” The company has been manufacturing stone wool insulation for more than 80 years and is taking advantage of their familiarity with the product to demonstrate to the industry that progressive sustainability is a matter of evaluating what is already there and taking positive steps.

The high level of sustainability in Rockwool’s production process coupled with the positive impact of its products means that the company is making a significant contribution to achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. By simply optimising their product and ensuring that sustainable improvement is focused on areas where they can do the most good, Rockwool is playing a positive role in building the future of modern living in a way that will actively fight against climate change.

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