- THE MAGAZINE
"We believe this is a first for the American carpet industry," said John Wells. "By turning waste into fuel for our manufacturing process, we are eliminating harmful emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. We are not only reducing our negative footprint, we are moving towards our goal of being a restorative company." Interface estimates it will reduce natural gas consumption at the plant by 20 percent, but the offset of greenhouse gas emissions is more substantial.
"The magnitude of this project is such that it offsets the greenhouse gas emissions for all of Interface's North American carpet manufacturing facilities, making them all climate neutral," said Wells, explaining that unburned methane is 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide in its contribution to global warming.
"EPA commends Interface and the city of LaGrange for their leadership in initiating this renewable energy project. By preventing emissions of methane, voluntary projects like Interface's help businesses and communities protect the environment and build a sustainable energy future," said Chris Voell, Southeast Manager, EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program. Additionally, the World Resources Institute facilitated the project and confirmed its environmental value.
Landfill gas is generated when organic materials in the landfill decompose, and is approximately 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide. When methane escapes into the atmosphere, not only does it contribute to global warming, it creates odors, contributes to local smog, and creates a safety hazard. The City of LaGrange Landfill will be modified with a system to collect the gas and deliver it through a pipeline to Interface's Kyle plant, located 10 miles away. There it will be burned and converted to heat, just like natural gas. The City of LaGrange is retrofitting the landfill for gas collection, and the pipeline is being added incrementally to an existing city project to upgrade natural gas pipelines. Interface is retrofitting two natural gas heaters and a boiler to run on the converted methane.
"What makes this project particularly unique is that Interface and other industrial community partners are working with the city to provide an economical energy alternative that is also environmentally sound," said Tom Hall, LaGrange city manager.