Insulation Industry Spotlight: Kingspan 02 February 2023

Kingspan. Advancing manufacturing, locally

Right now, around eight million Australian homes need insulation retrofits, leading some to worry that Australian manufacturing capability and supply chain barriers mean this task won’t be achieved for decades. But according to Kingspan Australia CEO Scott Gibson, we’ve got it covered.

Insulating new and existing buildings could reduce Australia’s annual emissions by 7.1 million tonnes of CO2e – that’s around the same amount as the total emissions generated by the entire domestic aviation industry.

Why could insulation have such a huge impact? Simply put, our buildings are not up to scratch.

As Australian CEO of Kingspan Insulation, Scott Gibson, says, “the majority of our existing commercial and residential housing is well known to be below international standards.”

Changing this will result in many benefits, not just environmental and climate-related.  “Building stock is not only a big producer of emissions, it’s also a considerable contributor to poor health in our communities,” Scott says.

“We know unhealthy homes produce negative outcomes for the people who live in them. Better insulating them to avoid these poor health outcomes and to reduce emissions is an absolute no brainer.”

Given the scale of the challenge in upgrading such a significant amount of Australia’s existing building stock, supply chain challenges are an understandable concern.

But Scott says this isn’t an issue for Kingspan. From its beginnings in Ireland in 1965, Kingspan is now a company with almost 200 manufacturing sites and 19,000 employees in 70 countries. Four of those manufacturing sites are in Australia, including a six star GBCA Green Star rated facility in Somerton, Victoria.

“We have loads of local manufacturing capability and no issue with supply chain,” Scott says. “We have numerous offshore suppliers of each component, and in fact, we’re gradually building more local content into our raw material supply chain.”

“It’s been encouraging to see we are generating the kind of demand that’s causing some of our foreign raw material suppliers to re-invest back into Australia, helping us to further strengthen and increase product containing local raw material content.”

Kingspan Insulation is looking forward to getting their remaining three Australian sites to net zero in 2023 as a part of a global company mandate to reduce emissions in all of their manufacturing facilities, and to manufacture in a way that is in harmony with the net zero transformation. 

The company is particularly proud of their 10-year global sustainability program, Planet Passionate.

“Planet Passionate has us thinking about things like circularity, energy efficiency and embodied carbon within the context of delivering a safe and sustainable product affordably,” notes Mr. Gibson.

With Australian jurisdictions of all sizes becoming increasingly aware of the many benefits of more energy efficient buildings, the approach taken by Kingspan is one that will create benefits for building occupants and beyond.

In addition to locally-based manufacturing and the flow-on effects of stimulating local markets for raw materials, Kingspan is committed to quality product and third-party certification, with products tested in Australian-accredited labs, and compliant to the Australian Construction Code, all helping to strengthen a growing local industry.