On this Earth Day, April 22, 2022, O&G would like to take a moment to reflect on the changes that have been taking place over the course of several years to become more sustainable. In 2018 the company and its Board of Directors adopted an Environmental Policy “to protect the environment for the health, safety, and quality of life for our communities, our employees, our customers, and the general public.” It is the company’s goal to conduct operations in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. This goal is a priority of O&G’s management and an inherent responsibility of every O&G employee.
O&G is continuously improving operations across all its facilities to conserve resources and promote the elimination of any actual or potential negative environmental impacts associated with our daily operations and products.
To that end, the company has made a large investment in adding solar power to many of its facilities. Most notable is the 3,762-panel solar farm at O&G’s Southbury Quarry. Built atop reclaimed and reforested land, this five-acre solar farm powers the entire complex: the heavy equipment maintenance garage, scale house, asphalt plant, concrete plant, and crushing plants. Surplus power is stored and can be fed back into the utility’s grid. It’s the first such industrial application of its kind in Connecticut.
The company is introducing comprehensive energy efficiency measures at its asphalt plants to cut down on the greenhouse gases emitted, making them more sustainable and efficient. These measures include insulating tanks, finding, and eliminating compressed air leaks, and installing high-efficiency motors and variable frequency drive fans that save energy and allow production of a ton of asphalt with less energy consumed. In late 2019, O&G’s asphalt plants at Canal Street in Stamford and in New Milford were the first in America entered into the EPA/DOE’s ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry program aimed at maximizing efficiency.
Beyond the improvements at O&G’s asphalt plants, the company is in the beginning stages of reducing the carbon footprint of its asphalt and concrete. The Asphalt Industry has committed to net-zero pavements by 2050, and O&G is committed to doing its part. One of the crucial steps in this process is creating environmental product declarations (EPDs) for all its mixes. EPDs are standardized ways of reporting the life-cycle environmental impacts of products. They are like a “nutrition label” for products that report a selection of environmental impacts; similar to the nutrition labels on food, which report the measured nutrition facts for the food product.
In Beacon Falls, at the Urban Mining CT plant, something very special is happening that you won’t find anywhere else on Earth. They are taking glass from local municipal recycling facilities and turning it into a substance called Pozzotive; an additive for concrete, in a class of compounds called pozzolans. It makes a very high-performance, but more importantly, sustainable concrete. This creation has solved a municipal recycling conundrum, cut the amount of energy needed to produce concrete, reduced CO2 emissions for that same process, and created a first-of-its-kind green building product. In comparison to Ready-Mix Concrete, which produces a 1:1 ratio, or 100%, of carbon emissions, Pozzotive creates only 5% carbon emissions!
The future is GREEN at O&G. As the company nears its 100th anniversary there is a focus on continuing this critical work to be a good environmental steward and ensure the planet (and company) is around for another 100 years.