Charles E. Bunch, CEO of PPG Industries, called upon industry and government to work together and provide necessary solutions to energy security and climate change issues. To implement a climate change policy without a diversified energy policy in place is a recipe for disaster," Bunch said. "It sets up U.S. business for failure," he said last week at the Air & Waste Management Association's 100th Annual Conference.
Bunch called for a broad-based energy policy addressing the long-term energy needs of the country and embracing the full gamut of available energy sources. "By necessity, this must include the basic fossil fuel mix that today fills most of our energy needs, such as coal, oil and natural gas. It must also include a renewed commitment to nuclear power, clean coal technology, and an aggressive commitment to development of alternative, more environmentally-friendly fuels.
"A healthy energy policy and a healthy economy go hand in hand with a healthy environment," Bunch said. "It's all about making good choices, thinking beyond the near term and investing in our future. If we work together, we can solve this problem, and we can make a difference."
He also called upon companies to develop a framework for energy management, climate change and greenhouse gas emission reduction. "This can be difficult for many companies, especially those like PPG that are operating in a variety of different countries. As a result, it makes sense to implement company-wide strategies for managing emissions."
PPG committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions intensity from sources in the U.S. 18% from a 2002 baseline by 2012. While achieving the goal six years early, PPG continues to improve its performance in the U.S. and is extending its goals to its operations around the globe.
PPG installed oxygen-fuel furnace technology for 11 glass furnaces in seven facilities in the U.S. and Europe. By using pure oxygen as opposed to air, these operations have reduced fuel consumption 15%. Carbon dioxide emissions are down 10%, and emissions of nitrogen oxides have been reduced 50%.
Bunch called upon government leaders to motivate and reward businesses that take steps to reduce their global energy imprints.
"Governmental entities need to have faith in the innovation that comes with free enterprise," he said. "When presented with the opportunities inherent in energy security and climate change, businesses will seize those, and we will all benefit. So rather than regulate, government should find a way to motivate."
Bunch said there is a marked increase in the demand for energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly products. PPG has leveraged that desire with several innovations.
On of PPG's products, Sungate automotive windshields, reflect about 50% of the sun's infrared energy to reduce the need for air conditioning 20%. Bunch said this translates to a 4% increase in fuel efficiency and puts about $66 per year back in the car owner's pocket.
He also noted that PPG has developed many products designed to help architects reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, which currently account for about half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. These improvements include low- and no-volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and coatings, roof coatings for homes and buildings that reflect heat and extend roof life, and glass that blocks approximately 70% of the sun's heat energy and enables architects to specify smaller cooling systems.