At Standard, we believe that sustainable innovation starts with the built environment, where technology intersects with the physical world. To ensure that we protect our planet and its resources for generations to come, we are advancing sustainability across our operating companies and related businesses—driving innovation that serves our climate and our communities.
For us, sustainability is an opportunity to discover and integrate new technologies that fulfill our commitment to the environment, invest in renewable energy at scale, develop carbon-sequestering applications and reduce waste in the manufacturing process.
Innovating Solar Solutions
GAF Energy is investing over $50 million in a new R&D and manufacturing facility in California that will bring solar manufacturing to the U.S. This facility will be critical as GAF Energy begins to develop the next generation of building-integrated solar technology with a new product that optimizes power output and maximizes aesthetic appeal while remaining reliable, affordable and easy to install. As a Standard Industries company, GAF Energy taps into the extensive national contractor network of GAF, transforming the rooftop solar industry with the goal of generating “Energy from Every Roof.”™
Through its tax equity financing for large-scale rooftop solar projects, GAF Energy has facilitated investments in over 180 solar projects across 18 states, producing more than one billion kilowatt hours of clean energy to date. In 2017, GAF Energy partnered with the City of Los Angeles to complete the second-largest solar roof in the U.S., a 50-acre roof space at the Port of Los Angeles that generates enough renewable energy to power nearly 5,000 homes.
Investing in Sustainable Technologies
Our related investment platform, 40 North, takes a flexible and creative approach to investing that allows us to identify and deploy capital into high-growth opportunities, especially when it comes to sustainability, where a solution-based mindset is required. We are constantly looking for these opportunities across sectors: from electric vehicle manufacturers to smart battery storage solutions providers that maximize renewable energy generation and help build a cleaner, more resilient grid.
Historically, established industries that make and move products, shape our habitats and power our lives, have been underinvested in—both by the industry itself and by the venture capital establishment. There is enormous potential to be unlocked with the right focus and attention. 40 North’s early-to-growth stage venture capital fund, 40 North Ventures, invests in emergent technology companies that are ushering in the next generation of sustainability applications within the industrial sector—from energy storage and power to virtual manufacturing tools and electrified transportation.
Advancing Carbon Sequestration
Our aggregates business, SGI, has partnered with a number of universities, including UC Davis, to study the ability of metabasalt fines—a byproduct created during the granule mining process—to sequester carbon from the atmosphere while increasing crop yield for farmers.
Early results of SGI’s research with UC Davis suggest the use of metabasalts could increase crop yields by up to 30% in some cases. A Nature paper published in 2020 estimates that, if deployed across half the farmland in the U.S., metabasalt fines could capture 420 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
GAF has piloted a newly-patented manufacturing process to produce the world’s first asphalt shingle that contains recycled shingle content, with global implications for improving sustainability and reducing waste across the roofing supply chain. This technology is part of GAF’s continued efforts to increase material circularity during manufacturing and production.
At BMI, the Roof Collect program in Germany works with regulatory organizations and other roofing businesses to remove PVC roofing membranes at the end of their lifetime and send them to a recycling center, where they can be repurposed as plastic flooring. In 2019, Roof Collect recycled 4,280 tons of material.
Conservation and Natural Climate Solutions
Standard has invested in partnerships to support key global conservation projects, aimed at preserving nature, protecting wildlife and leveraging natural climate solutions. Our support has enabled Conservation International (CI) to stand up their Nature for Climate strategy and initiative, including critical work to secure irreplaceable ecosystems, tackle deforestation, promote climate policies, and seek innovations in blue carbon. In addition, Standard partnered with CI to protect and sustain the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique and the abundance of species that call it home. Our funding supported the improvement of local fisheries and the livelihoods of local communities by reducing the pressure of overfishing and helping to protect over 2,000 native species of fish, birds and reptiles.
In partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Standard supported the Marine Protected Area Fund, which worked to establish lasting protection for critical marine habitats and threatened marine species across the globe. To date, WCS has created over 550,000 square miles of new marine protected areas and is working to achieve 1 million square kilometers of new MPAs by 2020. Through this effort, WCS and Standard have worked together toward the protection of wildlife and the conservation of wild places in 21 countries globally.