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The journey to net zero at JELD-WEN Penrith

In line with JELD-WEN’s global target to reach net-zero by 2050, the largest manufacturer of high quality timber interior doors and doorsets has accelerated its journey to a greener future.

Every year, JELD-WEN’s six-acre site in Penrith produces two million doors, which has set out ambitious sustainability targets in a bid to minimise its impact on the environment and preserve a healthier planet.

To support this vision, and in a significant step towards its own global net-zero goal, JELD-WEN has introduced a number of initiatives at its Penrith site, resulting in an impressive reduction in carbon emissions, power consumption, landfill waste and single-use plastics.

Here, Hamish White, Plant Manager at our Penrith factory, explains five key focuses that are being actioned in support of JELD-WEN’s journey to net zero:

1: Biomass

The Penrith factory uses two biomass boilers as a renewable energy source that utilises organic matter to generate power, in this case JELD-WEN’s excess supply of sustainably sourced timber.

As the carbon dioxide emitted from biomass equals the amount absorbed over the months and years that the tree was growing, this alternative to diesel creates a sustainable and CO2 neutral process, as any trees we use for fuel are replaced via replanting initiatives.

JELD-WEN’s timber is accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), which ensures responsible and ethical sourcing of timber, and we also work closely with suppliers to ensure that all timber is sourced in compliance with EU Timber Regulations (EUTR).

2: Energy

From 2015 to 2021, our Penrith plant decreased energy usage by over 30 per cent per door produced. The factory has achieved this impressive drop in consumption thanks to a number of factors including:

  • upgrading the plant’s extraction system
  • installing variable speed compressors
  • using LED lights with motion sensors
  • installing machinery with soft start inverters

This has increased the site’s energy efficiency, leading to annual savings of over £650,000.

3: Diesel

In 2018, the Penrith factory welcomed a brand-new fleet of forklift trucks, which were mainly electric, replacing the former diesel models.

Although this has helped to achieve sharp reductions in diesel use, we’re committed to going one step further and plan to completely eliminate all diesel on site with a solely electric fleet of vehicles moving forwards.

We have also identified ways to reduce haulage emissions by reducing wasted space on pallets, in turn maximising load capacity and reducing the number of annual trailer journeys required by 63. In turn, 14,000 road miles would be cut each year, equating to a 14 tonne reduction in annual CO2 emissions.

4: Landfill

JELD-WEN Penrith has an ambitious target of sending no waste to landfill by 2024.

Having already reduced levels of landfill waste by over 80 per cent from 2015 to 2021, the Penrith factory is on the right track.

By focusing on the circularity of materials - ensuring that any waste is filtered back into the product and not into landfill - we aim to achieve this goal in record time.

5: Plastics

JELD-WEN has taken major steps to reduce its single-use waste by swapping plastic packaging for cardboard on the highest volume of designs.

All glazed door packaging has been replaced with recyclable cardboard, which is FSC approved and produced from recycled materials by Smurfit Kappa.

As a result, 104,000 doors per year no longer have plastic shrink-wrap applied, meaning that 17 tonnes of plastic wrap has been immediately removed from the supply chain. In addition, we save 246,000 kWh per year in energy as the equipment used to heat seal the plastic is no longer needed - saving 57 tonnes in CO2 emissions. The focus remains on extending the scheme to our entire product range to ensure a wholly plastic-free future.

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And the work doesn’t stop there. From solar panels to staff tree planting initiatives, JELD-WEN is implementing even further measures to ensure it can be a true industry leader for sustainability - and achieve its ultimate goal of net zero carbon emissions and zero product to landfill within the next two years. At the Penrith factory, the work continues, the finish line moves nearer and a brighter, greener future comes into even sharper focus.     

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