December 2015

Knauf Insulation, Inc

THE PROJECT

In December 2015, AMCREF Community Capital provided $15.3 million of NMTC financing to Knauf Insulation, Inc, a leading supplier of insulation to increase energy efficiency for both homes and commercial buildings. Their fiberglass insulation is manufactured with > 50% recycled glass content and their patented, award-winning, biomass-based ECOSE binder technology eliminates the use of formaldehyde and phenol, significantly improving indoor air quality (benefiting consumers) while also reducing manufacturing plant emissions (benefiting employees and the local community). Knauf was seeking funds to upgrade and expand their existing manufacturing facility in Lanett, AL, originally built in 1988. Lanett is a rural community suffering from 14% unemployment. In 2011, Knauf was forced to close their Lanett plant due to high operating costs against a very poor housing market but were able to reopen in 2013. The Lanett area has lost over 20,000 jobs since the early 2000s due to the decline of the US textile industry.  Only 10,000 of the lost jobs have been recovered so the community is very supportive of Knauf’s reopening and expansion.

 

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: 220 direct FTEs, including 112 retained and 108 created, and 78 direct construction jobs. Knauf provides full benefits and pays average wages well above the local living wage. Knauf works directly with AL Workforce Development for job training.
  • Environmental Benefits: Up to 200M lbs of insulation to be produced per year. Buildings account for 40% of U.S. energy consumption and contribute over 38% of the total GHG emissions. Insulation cost effectively improves energy conservation and reduces GHGs. Plant will use up to 130,000 tons of recycled glass per year (about 50% of glass).  Knauf uses post consumer and industrial waste glass and can also use colored glass (a less desirable commodity). Innovative, award-winning ECOSE technology is derived from biomass (dextrose / corn) and eliminates petroleum-based ingredients used in most fiberglass insulation. Knauf’s ECOSE technology results in a 94% reduction in binder related chemical emissions at the plant, such as phenol and formaldehyde, and improves indoor air quality.
  • Community Support and Impacts: Knauf provides high paying skilled jobs to a rural community with high unemployment (14%). Approximately 80% of current FTEs were hired from within the local community and most of the job positions only require a high school degree or trade school. Knauf has hired 10+ employees via Alabama’s Workers in Action program, which identifies LIPs.
  • Economic / Catalytic Effects: Strongly supported by regional economic development and community leaders, including receipt of numerous tax abatements from Chambers County. Knauf is one of the primary employers in Chambers County. The Lanett plant upgrades are part of Knauf’s efforts to expand market share in the Southern U.S., hopefully leading to further growth in the region.