Titan America’s governing objectives challenge the integrated cement and building materials producer to be an industry leader for sustainability and environmental stewardship. A subsidiary of Titan Cement Co. S.A. (an international company with more than 115 years of industry experience, based in Athens, Greece), Titan America’s leadership and achievement in the US over the last two decades was recognised at the 60th Annual 2018 IEEE IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference, held in May in Nashville, Tennessee.
Case Study: Roanoke Cement Co.
Titan was invited to present a technical paper to industry engineers, corporate leaders, and trade media. As its case study, Titan chose the Roanoke Cement Co.’s (RCC) handling of an environmental challenge posed by the need for a quarry expansion at the plant in Troutville, Virginia. New quarries often result in impacts that ordinarily require mitigation bank payments to the regulators. In line with Titan America’s corporate sustainability doctrine, RCC developed a ‘local impact, local mitigation’ philosophy that earned plaudits from regulators and community critics alike.
The resultant mitigation project, beginning in 2013, was a yearlong creation of a 200 ft riparian buffer along each side of a two-mile stretch of Catawba Creek, which runs through the RCC plant property. However, the buy-in from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and other onlookers began years earlier, through its familiarity and comfort with RCC’s environmental stewardship.
Titan America’s RCC plant is located in the pristine Roanoke Valley, between the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains – a popular destination for biking and hiking enthusiasts. The plant can be seen from nearby hiking trails and locals and visitors accept its presence in the landscape, speaking approvingly of RCC’s interest in the value of outdoor activities.
One of the earliest steps RCC made, in 2001, was to establish a right of way for hikers to cross its property on the Andy Layne Memorial Trail, named for a legendary Appalachian Trail hiker. RCC’s generosity is the main reason hikers have accessibility to this restored section of the Appalachian Trail and the nature settings they desire. In turn, the feedback that employees received from this good deed provided added incentive for change on the plant campus.
After evaluating the cement-making process with programmes and procedures in place to mitigate potentially adverse effects on the environment, the plant staff pinpointed mineral extraction, energy consumption, and air quality as areas with the greatest potential for impact. In the early 2000s, plant managers and staff began meeting biweekly to discuss progress in these areas and spot possible future issues. “RCC’s plant sits in the Roanoke Valley, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” said Chris Bayne, Roanoke Cement’s Energy Manager. “The stakes are higher for us, surrounded by all that beauty, to perform at the pinnacle of the cement industry in energy efficiency.” The sustainability programmes were driven by Titan America’s Corporate Social Responsibility values and led by managers within the company and the plants, who take positive environmental impact seriously.
Specific examples, like the ones at RCC, demonstrate the commitment of Titan to its sustainability efforts. At the Virginia plant, a long-abandoned onsite limestone quarry was developed, through ground water inflows and rainfall, into a six acre lake. Trout have prospered in the new lake and provide a compelling recreation site for employees, community guests, and students at an annual fishing day, as well as during workshops with Trout Unlimited. The reclaimed pit provides another 8400 ft2 of land for restoration.
In 2009, the reclaimed quarry became the centerpiece of RCC’s Trout Pond Restoration Project, a longer-term initiative to create a sustainable ecosystem. A local college consulted on a biodiversity study, leading to soil placement and selected native plant species. Birdfeeders, birdhouses, and beehives have been installed to attract wildlife. Across the plant’s campus, an orchard – necessary for the bees to succeed – was planted with an apple tree for each employee.
Titan recognises that each of its production facilities and sites has a unique ecosystem that can be developed to its maximum. In contrast to the RCC plant, the Titan Florida plant is in an industrial community in Medley, Florida, in northwest Miami-Dade County. The Medley plant lacks the expansive setting of Roanoke but makes abundant use of native plants and water resources to create an appealing campus.
“Everyone that visits the Medley plant has the opportunity to view the tree plantings, 50 acres of littoral shelves monitoring, littoral shelves projects under construction, and designated areas with plenty of native wildlife,” said Zaklina Stamboliska, Vice President of Cement Manufacturing at Titan Florida. “When tours are conducted, we emphasise the importance of wetlands, trees, and a healthy flora and fauna. Visitors see the nourishing gumbo limbo and red maple and have a chance to gaze at our beautiful flamingos, blue heron, white ibis, and ospreys.”
At the Medley plant, conservation education is also shared with Titan Florida’s local community. Site tours are regularly offered to high school and college students, which have included Palm Beach State College, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Miami.
Corporate environmental initiatives adopted by Titan America, such as the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) Corporate Lands for Learning, are embraced by both plants and have provided the already ecologically converted plant staffs with more structure.
“The Corporate Lands for Learning Programme has given us the opportunity to involve not just the employees, but the community in our conservation efforts,” said George Pantazopoulos, Senior Vice President of Cement Operations and Corporate Engineering at Titan America. “It is our responsibility to maintain harmony with the environment at the Medley, as well as Roanoke campuses.” Both plant sites were recertified by WHC in 2014.
Titan Florida is a massive operation and includes cement manufacturing, aggregates, quarrying, block manufacturing, and ready-mixed concrete operations. Last year, it was officially certificated as a Gold Level Zero Waste Facility, making it the only facility of its kind in the US to achieve Zero Waste status. The US Zero Waste Business Council provided the certification.
To qualify for Zero Waste Certification, the Titan Florida plant was required to demonstrate greater than 90% diversion from landfill use, for a minimum of 12 consecutive months. This included reducing, reusing, recycling, or composting discarded materials or recovering the materials for productive use in nature. It required implementing sustainable strategies for resource and waste management. The certification process also included an extensive onsite audit, performed by Zero Waste Council members.
“The Zero Waste Certification is a remarkable accomplishment and consistent with Titan America’s commitment to striving for best-in-class sustainability practices,” said Randy Dunlap, President of Titan Florida LLC. Titan Florida’s Medley plant has been recognised for numerous sustainability initiatives, including Wildlife Habitat Certification and the prestigious Energy Star® Certification, sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Titan’s sister cement plants, Roanoke and Medley, are among the few in the US to be ENERGY STAR certified for 12 and 11 consecutive years, respectively. RCC’s achievements with ENERGY STAR are particularly notable.
RCC renewed its focus on energy management in 2014 by establishing aggressive internal sustainability targets for 2020. As recently as 2016, savings models showed reductions in total electrical consumption when compared with 2014 baselines, of approximately 10%, and a plant-wide total energy (thermal and electrical) reduction of more than 8%. RCC engineers made use of ENERGY STAR tools and shared data with the EPA, as the plant developed a solid relationship with the agency.
Combined with a renewed focus on demand management and response, RCC achieved energy spending reductions in excess of US$2 million. Particulate emissions from the main kiln stack were reduced by 53% during the 11 year ENERGY STAR period (the latest available).
Kevin Baird, President of Titan America Mid-Atlantic Business Unit, places the credit with the Virginia plant’s employees and managers. “Titan advances a core value of environmental stewardship and Roanoke Cement’s initiatives have succeeded through dedicated employees who encourage and commit. Their energy awareness generated good ideas, leading to innovative practices and energy-saving results.”
Last July, RCC was honoured by ENERGY STAR and the EPA for its major energy reductions in one of the most energy intensive industries. Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6th) of Roanoke applauded RCC’s ENERGY STAR achievement. “RCC is well-known to me as one of the largest employers and taxpayers in Botetourt County. To be sure, this is not ‘your grandfather’s cement company.’ With over US$100 million in capital upgrades since 1992, RCC has propelled itself into the highest echelon of 21st Century industry – environmentally aware and technologically savvy. RCC’s limestone lake restoration, Appalachian Trail access, and Catawba Creek improvements have created a legacy its community recognises and appreciates.”
To qualify for ENERGY STAR, RCC and Titan Florida were required to perform in the top 25% of cement plants nationwide for total (thermal and electrical) energy efficiency and to meet strict environmental performance levels set by the EPA. The EPA’s ENERGY STAR designation is based on actual energy use and is calculated using a tool prepared by the EPA, called an energy performance indicator (EPI).
In 2017, the plant’s ENERGY STAR team, upon invitation, presented to the EPA Region 3 office in Philadelphia. The meeting was comprised of approximately 40 EPA attendees, including the ENERGY STAR, Air Protection, Sustainability, and Pollution Control teams.
The tenure of the RCC’s ENERGY STAR certification, sustainability, and environmental compliance was summarised. Highlights of RCC’s presentation included innovative reclamation projects, including trout pond creation, stream cleanup and bank development, and quarry conversions that provided benefits across the plant’s constituencies. Onsite mediation with continuous improvement programmes proved to be the formula for RCC’s plant-wide progress. RCC was the first cement company to be invited to present at EPA Region 3.
In 2015, Titan America implemented a series of processes that enabled Titan employees to maintain and improve energy performance across the entire enterprise. The Titan Energy Management System (EnMS), operating at Titan’s three largest facilities (RCC in Virginia and both the cement and aggregate plants located in Medley, Florida) enabled employees to systematically manage total consumption of all energy sources. This programme, which addressed the energy performance standard ISO 50001, also guaranteed that the company’s business operations were as efficient as possible, increased plant reliability, and supported Titan’s operational goals.
“We are passionate about continuously developing efficient, sustainable operating practices,” said Bill Zarkalis, CEO of Titan America. “Titan’s EnMS programme is an excellent example of innovation and of our commitment to make business operations more efficient, while contributing as much as we can to make the locations in which we operate better places to live and work. We are very proud of the recognition, but we do not take it for granted. We are poised to continue our efforts.”
The efforts in these areas by Titan America are not just domestic US projects but occur around the globe. Parent company, Titan Cement Co. was among the first 500 signatories, and is now a participant of the UN Global Compact (UNGC). UNGC is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to undertake partnerships in support of UN goals.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/special-reports/30102018/policy-into-practice/