2016 Sustainability Report



We feel it is our responsibility to optimize water use not only in water-stressed regions of the world but in all of our facilities through conservation and reuse.

Our water management approach is based on a global mapping process that enables us to establish relative water risks in our portfolio and rank our sites based on water usage, scarcity risk and other factors. We update the ranking each year to reflect water usage changes and sites that are acquired or sold.

Our water goal, which we established in early 2016 following our most recent global mapping, is to implement management plans at facilities with the highest water-scarcity risk by 2020.

In 2016, we created and implemented a process to develop a water management plan at our Circleville, Ohio, facility, in the U.S. We intend to use the process to develop plans for three sites each year through 2020.

We ensure water consumption is a focus at all plants—not just those considered high-risk—by including the metric in each plant’s environmental scorecard. This increases visibility into our water use at the local, regional and global level and also encourages our employees to remain engaged and committed to conserving this valuable resource.

Because much of the water we use is for equipment cleaning, we are improving our processes to require less cleaning. We are also evaluating opportunities to reuse wash water in our processes and products.

Our water usage intensity in 2016 was 3.85 cubic meters per metric ton of production, which equals a 9 percent reduction compared to 2015 and a 21 percent decline since 2012.

Excluding our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses, which we sold in 2016, our total water consumption was 4.21 cubic meters per metric ton of production. This represents a 14 percent decline over 2015 and a 3 percent increase since 2012.

We continued to participate in a Water Environment and Reuse Foundation project to develop a framework that assists in the initiation and implementation of onsite industrial water reuse. In 2016, this effort resulted in the finalization of the research publication A Framework for the Successful Implementation of On-site Industrial Water Reuse, which features projects from our Huntsville and Batavia locations in the U.S. We are also participating in the next phase of the project to develop practical tools to assist with the development and justification of industrial water reuse and reduction projects. 


Water Usage Intensity

Cubic meters per metric ton of production

Year Amount
2012 4.85
2013 4.39
2014 4.20
2015 4.23
2016 3.85

Water Usage Intensity Excluding Flat Glass and European Fiber Glass Businesses

Cubic meters per metric ton of production 

Year Amount
2012 4.07
2013 5.10
2014 4.72
2015 4.87
2016  4.21

We sold our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses in 2016.

Reducing H2O use in water-stressed areas

In water-stressed areas across the United States, our facilities are implementing process and other changes to help conserve limited water resources.

Our architectural coatings facility in Carrollton, Texas, initiated a series of water-reduction activities in 2016 that resulted in a 15.3 percent decline in water consumption compared to the prior year. Actions included scheduling products of similar composition on specific tanks to minimize cleaning and limiting the amount of water used to prepare tanks between product batches. The facility also replaced a sizeable portion of its restroom fixtures with more water-efficient units.

In Southern California, which has been in a protracted drought, members of the sustainability team at our Mojave aerospace facility realized that the majority of the site’s rinse water was clean and could be cycled back through the process at the initial rinse phase. The change saves 106,575 gallons (403 cubic meters) of water annually.

Our Houston, Texas, architectural coatings plant incorporates microbe-free white wash water into a low-cost flat paint product. This innovative reuse saves 500,000 gallons (1,893 cubic meters) of water and $375,000 in disposal costs each year.

Recovered discharge water saves 650,000 gallons annually

Our AP Resinas architectural coatings facility in San Juan del Rio, Mexico, reduced its water consumption by almost 650,000 gallons (2,450 cubic meters) per year by increasing the amount of discharge water it recovers and reuses from its onsite deionized water system.

Cost savings for water, water treatment and sewage total more than $3,800 annually.

Changes in cleaning procedures reduce wastewater, water consumption

While exploring the feasibility of embarking on a long-term initiative to achieve zero wastewater, our coatings manufacturing facility in Reno, Nevada, undertook two projects to reduce wastewater in the near term.

The first initiative involved mapping tank rinsing procedures to determine a set rinse time per tank and type of tank that would accomplish the maximum rinse without water waste. The result was a 25 percent reduction in wastewater.

The second project was evaluating the procedures to clean line fill heads between batches of paint. Analysis and benchmarking indicated the average rinse time could be reduced from the typical three to four minutes to 1.5 minutes with minimal impact. The change has reduced water consumption for fill head cleaning by 50 percent per batch.

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