The North American arm of Denmark’s Rockwool International, RoxulInc. is the leading producer of stone wool in North America, a stone fibre-based insulation heralded for its insulation properties and low environmental impact.
Founded in 1909 and today in over 30 countries worldwide, Rockwool/Roxul products are the preferred choice for many building owners, architects, specifiers, contractors, builders and do-it-yourselfers when sourcing insulating solutions for their projects. Rockwool/Roxul products are ecofriendly and are produced in an environmentally responsible manner. These products are among the “greenest” choices when selecting building materials.
Rockwool International has had a long history of supplying the building industry with a variety of solutions, including insulation products, acoustic ceilings, consulting services for energy efficiency, the horticultural industry, special fibres, noise and vibration systems for traffic infrastructure and marine and offshore insulation.
Roxul has operations in Grand Forks, B.C. and Milton, Ont., for 12 and 21 years, respectively, both using world class technology and producing residential, commercial and industrial fire-resistant, energy efficient, sound-dampening products.
Roxul’s mineral-based insulation is inherently an earth-friendly product whose returns are undeniable. Roxul insulation manufactured, installed and used over a 50-year period will save 128 times more primary energy than was used for its production, transport and disposal. The energy balance becomes positive in only five months after installation—now that is being environmentally responsible.
Not content to rest on this achievement, the company pushes its boundaries for sound environmental stewardship.
The success of Roxul is twofold. Not only has the company continually maintained its leadership in stone wool insulation products, in addition, the company’s aggressive environmental mandate has also made Roxul a proven innovator on the global stage.
Recent upgrades in both Canadian plants, continue Roxul’s mandate to reduce factory emissions, and adhere to its rigorous comprehensive environmental management systems, including recycling technologies and energy conservation in manufacturing.
Roxul Doubles North America capacity
In June 2009, Roxul Inc., with the support of the Ontario government, unveiled a $150 million plant expansion for its Milton facility. The investment saw one of the world’s largest stone wool manufacturing lines put into operation, tripling the overall capacity of Roxul in North America and creating 90 full-time and permanent jobs, well on the way to delivering on the estimated 100 jobs that were originally forecasted with this investment.
CBJ spoke to Dan Giansante, North American Marketing Manager, to follow up on the progress of this exemplary commitment.
“The plant expansion was designed to exceed the provincial environmental standards and to be a model of energy awareness and efficiency,” says Giansante.
“Energy efficiency and conservation again are at the forefront of people’s thinking. Our marketplace is full of messaging focused on sustainability and green building, some coming from manufacturers such as ourselves and some from the government (at all levels).”
The plant today operates with zero production waste to landfill, water collection systems that have reduced municipal water consumption by 50 per cent, heat recovery systems that capture heat from the production process to heat the building, and an onsite recycling facility that transforms production waste into usable raw materials.
The numbers bear out the market’s desire to support ecofriendly companies if the price and product are competitive or better. Giansante points to the fact that despite a decline in the North American residential and commercial insulation market from 2007, when the market was estimated to be $7.4 billion, to today estimated $5.4 billion, Roxul has experienced double-digit growth year over year in this period—growing its market share.
“Consumers are hungry for environmentally sound products that deliver on performance—like Roxul does,” says Giansante. “The focus on energy efficiency and conservation continue to be hot topics and will help bolster the market demand for insulation, help spur growth in the industry and position Roxul to grow and service increased customer demand in the coming years.”
“In 2009, the company did undertake a branding exercise that saw us create a new look for our brand,” says Giansante. The Roxul name on all materials became our focus and our sub brands along with new visual helped communicate product applications more effectively.
This rebranding effort included new packaging. “Red and white bags strongly branded improved our presence onsite and in store. The packaging serves as a strong communication tool while delivering a ‘billboard’ effect for our brand,” says Giansante.
“Overall our rebranding efforts have been well received by both the professional/commercial customers as well as our residential do-it-yourself retailers and customers. The impact on our sales is very positive.”
The company also launched a new, clear website, making it easier for customers to find information. Increased focus and presence at key trade shows throughout North America, updated tradeshow displays that are aligned with its advertising from a look and messaging perspective have also increased Roxul’s profile. Roxul also focuses on the benefits of insulating in Roxul’s communication efforts. “Save energy, save money—it is a simple message and consumers get it.”
The Canadian government has been supportive of energy saving initiatives. An example of strong communication from the government side is reflected in programs such as the Home Renovation Tax Credit and the EcoEnergy campaigns. “These programs go a long way to heighten consumer awareness and need for insulating our homes better,” says Giansante. These programs also provide incentives to act. “I am encouraged to see recent comments from the federal government that indicate we will see support for such programs continued in some form.”
Since its inception in 1909, Rockwool International has grown to be a leading enterprise in not one, but two facets: product innovation and environmentally sound manufacturing. The group’s commitment in this area is again reinforced by its new strategy “Rock the Globe”, which focuses on customer driven innovation and excellence in sales and marketing. Expect to hear a lot more from the Rockwool Group. The company looks forward to seeing many more decades of growth, further investment and an increased market presence to service its customers.