Interface Americas using 96% renewable energy
Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2016
ATLANTA — Interface, the world’s largest commercial modular carpet company and a sustainable business pioneer, announced Wednesday a milestone in the company’s Mission Zero initiative — the Americas manufacturing sites now operate using 96 percent renewable energy.
The renewable energy operation in the Americas brings the company’s global renewable energy usage to 84 percent. The renewable energy comes from directed biogas to meet the thermal energy needs of the company’s flagship operations in Troup County.
“Getting our factories in Americas to near 100 percent in renewable energy is a significant achievement — one that is a first for our industry and likely for industry in general,” said Erin Meezan, vice president of sustainability for Interface Inc. “When we began our focus on Mission Zero 22 years ago, renewable energy was at the heart of our strategy to eliminate our carbon footprint. Four years before our milestone year of 2020, we are ahead of plan and on track to achieve our 2020 goals.”
Mission Zero is the company’s promise to eliminate its negative environmental impacts by 2020.
As Interface has worked to shift away from fossil fuel derived energy and towards renewables, the company has deployed a variety of strategies. In 2005, Interface pioneered the direct use of landfill gas derived from one of its Troup County facilities.
Beginning in 2015, Interface started supplementing this landfill gas use by procuring directed biogas, where the renewable attributes of biogas injected at one point on an interconnected pipeline system are matched with the same quantity of natural gas at another point on the system. Today, directed biogas makes up 53 percent of the company’s local renewable energy profile, which is rounded out with 42 percent renewable electricity, 4 percent propane and 1 percent landfill gas.
“A clean energy economy depends on business having options when it comes to accessing renewables, especially because they are not always plentiful or practical from a local perspective,” said Meezan. “Using directed biogas is a win-win — we are reducing emissions and turning waste into fuel in one community, and distancing ourselves from fossil fuel energy in another. We hope that Interface’s use of biogas will contribute to creating a marketplace for more innovation in renewables.”
Because landfill gas has the potential – if upgraded — to become a source of renewable energy in the U.S., an interagency effort to study biogas was mandated as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The U.S. EPA and the departments of Agriculture and Energy recognized directed biogas as an emerging technology in a December 2015 report, saying: “Strategically deployed biogas systems offer the nation a cost-effective and profitable solution to reducing emissions, diverting waste streams, and producing renewable energy.”