Pella Corporation: a longtime leader in sustainability

There are many definitions for the word “sustainability.” It can mean everything from human well-being to ecological balance to healthy natural resources. Because it’s so broadly and frequently referred to, understandably, many consumers may be confused about the term and the ever-growing list of “sustainable” products now available.

At Pella, “sustainability” is a philosophy that guides team members in creating windows and doors that allow you to enjoy your home and the environment. As an environmental leader, Pella creates products in a sustainable manner.

“We believe sustainability means meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs(1),” said Pella’s Environmental Manager Jim Nieboer.

Eliminate waste, recycle byproducts

Since 1925, the company’s goal has been to responsibly use its manufacturing resources, including wood, vinyl, fiberglass, glass, various kinds of metals and even sawdust.

“We’ve tried to eliminate the concept of waste and instead see everything as a byproduct that we or someone else can reuse,” Nieboer said. “In essence we’re trying to mimic the cycles we observe in nature.”

Pella customized its recycling program to make it easier for team members to segregate recyclable materials — adding easily accessible recycling bins at key stages of the assembly line. Now byproducts and scrap materials are recycled by vendors into materials like pet bedding, reflective coating for highways and even archery targets.

This mindset drives the company to explore technologies that allow Pella to operate responsibly, and with fewer byproducts that have to be recycled.

Longtime industry leader

Pella Corporation has earned numerous industry awards for its ongoing sustainability efforts. Among its top honors:

  • ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year 2014 award in the windows category for manufacturing energy-efficient windows and educating consumers about them. Pella also earned the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award in 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007. This award is presented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
  • ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award winner in 2011, 2010 and 2009 for continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency. Awarded by the EPA and DOE.
  • Awarded the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain-of-Custody Certification by Scientific Certification Systems. This award is accredited by the FSC to certify companies to its international standards — further demonstrating Pella’s commitment to using resources responsibly.
  • Recognized by Iowa Governor Chet Culver and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) in 2007 for its leadership in recycling. Instead of burning scrap wood and sending it to a landfill, Pella works with recycling vendors who create wood flour, landscape mulch and livestock bedding.
  • Awarded an honorable mention by the GREEN LOG Home and Lifestyle Award in 2008 for promoting positive change in the green alternatives for building new homes.

Sustainability facts:

  • At Pella, sustainability means creating energy-efficient windows and doors that help lessen the building’s impact on the environment.
  • Pella embraces sustainability as scrap materials like glass, wood and sawdust, even screen materials, are recyclable.
  • Pella prefers to purchase third-party certified lumber from responsibly harvested forests.
  • Vendors recycle byproducts from Pella’s manufacturing processes into materials like pet bedding, reflective coating for highways and archery targets.
  • Pella conducts community-wide electronic-recycling programs called “e-cycling days” each year honoring Earth Day. Since Pella started its popular event in 2005, nearly 373,000 pounds of obsolete electronics have been recycled and kept out of local landfills. That's equivalent to 31 adult male elephants or about seven full garbage trucks.
  • Pella dedicates space in the workplace to make it easy to segregate recyclable materials.

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1UN World Commission on Environment and Development, December 1987