This knowledge helps us improve and be more conscious which is also a growing interest for the customers as well. Swedish Environmental Institute (IVL) has performed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on Camfil's various bag filters. This work will determine the basis for our continued environmental work to reduce the products' carbon footprint and help the customers assess the environmental impact of the filter installations.
Doing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) gives a deeper insight into the business and comprehends how resource-intensive are various phases of product manufacturing. The work done towards this analysis benefits us in developing and reducing the product's environmental impact. To become more circular and sustainable, it is important to review the complete process and its flows along with the focus on the fundamental material. Reuse of waste materials and improved manufacturing processes are crucial but it is also important to increase cooperation with other stakeholders outside the company to exchange ideas, find new materials, better transport routes, and new workflows that can contribute to improved environmental benefits.
IVL has helped us produce Environmental Product Declaration (EPDs) for the various products. The EPDs have been reviewed and approved by an independent verification body, Sweco. This ensures that the information in our EPDs is reliable.
Camfil drives sustainability work forward with Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declarations. We believe that our filtration and contamination control solutions can make a real difference. But we also believe that any environmental claims must be backed up by transparent, independent analysis. This is why we have developed EPDs and conduct Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). These play a major role in our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and respond to customer interest in sustainability. All this work is also directly linked to the UN's global goal number 12, responsible consumption and production.
We must constantly reduce our ecological footprint by improving how we produce, consume goods and resources. To become more circular and responsible for the next generation, constant work is underway to reuse raw materials, develop and improve processes. We do this in close collaboration with our suppliers to manufacture tailor-made solutions and modifications for our particular business.
For the environment and our health, we must minimize the use of hazardous substances in the manufacturing process. One of our goals for several years has been to phase out chemicals or replace them with less dangerous or environment-friendly substances. To this aid, we have our chemical management system and definite chemical use laws. We have good insights into the substances used in our process and we are protecting the health of our employees along with the environment.
As demands to reduce CO2 emissions get tougher along with energy price increase, the energy consumption of air filters in ventilation systems has drawn much attention. In January 2019, an updated energy classification system by certification body Eurovent became effective. Camfil collaborated with Eurovent on this new classification.
Today, all ePM1, ePM2,5, and ePM10 air filters in full size and family sizes can be graded from A+ to E. Grade A+ indicates the lowest energy consumption and E the highest. The classification, based on EN ISO 16890, gives people a better understanding of a filter’s annual energy consumption, initial efficiency, and minimum efficiency. Eurovent’s new classification method is more objective and stringent than before, something which Camfil welcomes.
Eurovent’s updated system helps consumers find the right air filter with the lowest energy usage combined with the highest indoor air quality. Using the right air filter not only helps our customers maintain healthy indoor air quality but also helps to save energy and money. Camfil displays the Eurovent ratings on its product packages. In the U.S., Camfil’s premium filters carry a 5-star rating.
An important part of the product phase is that we control the performance of our products with constant testing directly linked to the manufacturing process. Camfil Tech Centres around the globe are the heart of research and development, at the forefront of work to analyse indoor air and to test the performance of different filters. We continuously conduct training and webinars to expand knowledge on the impact of air filtration. Get in touch with your local Camfil office to be part of the educational experience.
Further along in the chain, we look at transport distances, optimal locations for production, volume and weight efficiencies in packaging, and mode of transport to customers and local warehouses. Within transport, Camfil recognises the key role packaging plays in protecting products, improving resource efficiency, and reducing waste. To lessen the environmental impact in this area, Camfil has partnered with a provider of “right-size” packaging solutions called Packsize®. With this new packaging machine at a few of our production sites, we can now build cartons that make a perfect fit for whatever is inside.
In Reinfeld, Germany, and at two of our facilities in the United States, Packsize® is optimising the packages we use to ship our filters and other products. It partly eliminates the need to buy and store pre-made boxes and drives down the costs of our packaging operations. And critically, with right-sized packages, we don’t need to unnecessarily ship void fill (the filler material in packages) or air – a huge sustainability benefit. An example of creating more circular flows is that we reuse the sorted packaging and stretch film plastic to make return bags for a cleaner working environment for those who handle and change dirty filters. The bag is made of about 75% recycled PET.
This work is also linked to goal 12, Sustainable consumption and production.
Camfil started working with Life Cycle Assessment as early as the 1990s and understands from experience that the largest environmental footprint occurs during operation. We have therefore worked actively to achieve a common standard to classify air filters. However, it is important to remember that the purpose of these products is to purify the air for the benefit of both the environment and human health. Therefore, we mustn't go down in filter class to reduce energy consumption and as a result get poor air quality. Read more about this under "Take A Breath".
Since we are certified according to Eurovent, our filters are energy classified according to Eurovent 4/21. When changing the air filter, we recommend that you use protective equipment such as respiratory protection and gloves. Be sure to seal the dirty filter in a box or bag so that it does not affect the environment with odor or they get dirty before sending it for incineration.
The below graph shows how different countries' electricity production affects the filter during operation.
We are often asked how our products should be taken care of after they have been used up. This is not an easy answer because it depends on where they have been installed, what type of dust/substance is in the filter, or which plant will receive the waste. From a customer perspective, the two primary value-adds resulting from sustainable product development are (1) the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and (2) the reliable delivery of clean air.
Over the lifetime of owning an air filter, the cost is typically divided as follows: 70% is related to energy consumption, 15% to the purchase cost, and 15% to other factors, including a fairly significant portion for waste treatment and recycling. It is therefore a natural part of our job to focus much of our development efforts on minimizing energy consumption as well as simplifying the effort to recycle or reuse our products. At the end of filter life, we place efforts on minimizing general waste, whenever possible ensuring that the waste can be easily separated into recyclable or reusable fractions. To ensure that we optimize our environmental choices and maintain a holistic view of sustainability during product development, we use state-of-the-art life cycle assessment (LCA) simulation tools.