Zero-waste production

Policy and goals

Careful use of resources is gaining in importance all the time. We want to ensure efficient use of materials and zero waste through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse of materials in our products and production processes.

Our vision is to reach zero waste at our production sites. Governed by our environmental policy, we continuously optimise our material efficiency and reduce the amount of waste resulting from our production.

This means that we:
  • Increase our use of renewables in production, e.g. by replacing fossil fuels with renewables.
  • Experiment with use of recycled materials such as wood, glass and aluminium.
  • Prolong the service life of our products through maintenance, durability and upgradability. VELUX windows promise a service life of 40 years or more. The windows are modular for easy replacement or upgrade. 
  • Optimise performance and energy efficiency. Our life cycle analyses document that VELUX windows can be CO2 net positive throughout their life cycle.
  • Apply closed-loop, zero-waste processes at our production sites. 97% of waste is recycled or used as renewable energy.
  • Offer backwards compatible products to ensure that they are easy to replace and upgrade, e.g. panes, electronics, blinds and shutters.

Activities

Our production sites have been ISO 14001 certified for a number of years. With the updated ISO 14001:2015, all our production sites are in the process of obtaining certification according to this more demanding standard, with special focus on Value Chain Control and Influence, Life Cycle Assessments, management commitment, and risks and opportunities management.

Our wood production sites strive to get the most out of every piece of wood coming into the factories. By using laser-scanners in the cross-cutting processes, potential wood defects are identified and the use of every single piece of wood can be determined. In this way, and with an unrelenting focus on wood optimisation in on-the-job-training and daily work procedures, the amount of waste wood is continuously reduced. 

Performance

Our waste products are typically wood, steel, aluminium and glass; for these major waste categories, we have brought our recycling close to 100%. In 2017:

  • 71,9% of waste was recycled and used for bedding for poultry farms, pellets, pallets and fireboards, etc. 
  • 25,3% of waste was used as renewable energy at VELUX factories or sold to external customers.
  • 0,8% of waste was categorised as hazardous waste. 
  • 1,9% of waste from production was sent to landfill

The aluminium used in VELUX products contains 50% recycled aluminium.

Experimenting with use of recycled Helo and PU materials

For some product ranges, the VELUX Group uses Helo (glass fibre material) and PU (plastic). In 2017, we conducted a development project to investigate the reuse of Helo and PU scrap materials from production of VELUX roof windows and modular skylights.

The project returned promising results in the form of new composite materials that can be used in various products and components in the future.

In 2018, material specifications will be ready, together with recommendations for which products the new, recycled materials can be used for. In the longer term, the experiences from the recycling project will be used in the preparation for the new EU regulation on end-of-life return of products.

Next steps

  • We continue to optimise our material efficiency with a focus on the primary materials used for our products, notably wood, glass and aluminium.
  • We continue to explore new opportunities for recycling with suppliers, local utilities and recycling companies.
  • We continue our dialogue with glass suppliers to explore the possibilities for increased use of recycled glass in window panes.
  • By September 2018, all sites will be certified according to ISO 14001:2015.
  • In 2018, we will benefit from the expanded capacity to use waste wood for renewable heat generation at one of our major VELUX factories in Poland.