Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass) announced that its Fresno, California facility is the first float glass manufacturing plant in the United States to earn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR certification for superior energy efficiency.
The Fresno plant, which operates one of eight oxygen-fuel-powered (oxy-fuel) glass furnaces in the world, earned the certification by registering an energy performance score ranked in the 75th percentile or higher among other float glass manufacturing plants in the United States. According to the Energy Performance Indicator (EPI), the benchmarking tool established by ENERGY STAR, the Fresno plant scored in the 100th percentile among its peers, meaning there are few, if any, more energy-efficient float glass plants in the country.
Roberto Cabrera, global technology director, Vitro Architectural Glass, praised the plant’s frontline operators and engineering and management teams for meeting the rigorous ENERGY STAR certification standards.
“We are extremely proud of this achievement because it recognizes and rewards the extraordinary commitment our Fresno staff makes every day to operating a world-class manufacturing plant,” he said. “The certification also signals their dedication to one of Vitro’s core corporate values, which is to operate and grow in harmony with the environment and the communities we serve.”
Using a proprietary process developed and licensed by Vitro Glass and its legacy companies, the Fresno plant uses high-purity oxygen instead of air to combust raw materials such as sand and silica. This technology not only enables the plant to use less energy, it also dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional air-fired glass furnaces.
The float line at Fresno was redesigned and rebuilt in 2016 to incorporate the latest advances in insulating refractory materials. The plant also was furnished with automated proximity lighting as well as more energy-efficient motors, pumps, compressors and other equipment. Industry-best operational practices were adopted throughout the facility, as well.
The 54-year-old plant produces clear, Acuity low-iron and Starphire Ultra-Clear low-iron glasses. All three products are Cradle to Cradle Certified at the Silver level by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
The Fresno plant is believed to be the only oxygen-fueled glass furnace in the world producing low-iron glass. Vitro Glass operates three of the world’s oxy-fuel furnaces, including two others in Wichita Falls, Texas and Meadville, Pennsylvania.
For more information about the full range of sustainable architectural glass products available from Vitro Glass, please visit www.vitroglazings.com.