If your new PolyISO manufacturing production line is expected to be roughly the length of two and a half football fields, you need to find the space to accommodate it all. For GAF, the ideal place turned out to be in New Columbia, Pennsylvania—a small town located in the central portion of the state that is already home to an existing GAF manufacturing plant. This is the fourth new facility for GAF manufacturing EnergyGuard™ Polyiso Insulation, a popular insulation board used in a large number of commercial roofing systems, including modified bitumen, built-up roofing, and single-ply. The company also manufactures polyiso in Cedar City, Utah; Gainesville, Texas; and Statesboro, Georgia.
GAF first expanded its manufacturing operations into this part of Pennsylvania in 2017 with injection molding for COBRA branded residential roofing accessories. It expanded once again in 2018 when the company added a thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) plant. When it came time to find a home for an additional ISO manufacturing facility, the New Columbia area felt like a natural fit. The experience GAF had with the TPO facility proved to be beneficial; the town was located near major highways, and rail lines were easy to access via the Northeast Corridor. In addition, Central Pennsylvania has a wealth of top talent who bring innovation, collaboration and integrity to the team; proving to be a great fit with GAF's values and culture.
Meeting Industry Demand
The addition of the fourth location will provide a vital source of materials to the roofing industry as demand for polyiso rises. This is in part due to global warming concerns, which have led many states and jurisdictions to enact stricter guidelines regarding buildings' energy efficiency. Industry researchers predict a continued 4.3% annual growth in the building thermal insulation market through 2023.
The change in state jurisdictions are not solely responsible for polyiso demand. Polyiso delivers the highest insulation value per inch when compared to other types of non-polyiso insulation, and it's also lighter than other non-polyiso insulating materials that have the same R-value. (R-value is a measure of how well insulating material resists heat flow, so the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power). It can help buildings meet energy code requirements without significantly increasing weight. All EnergyGuardTM products are manufactured using EPA-compliant blowing agents without CFCs or HCFCs. And EnergyGuard products with the "NH" designation do not contain any halogenated flame retardants, making those products suitable for your sustainable design projects.
Supporting the Local Communities
The addition of the ISO manufacturing plant can have a postitive impact on New Columbia. GAF is committed to positively impacting the communities where its facilities are located. When the TPO and injection molding plant opened, it provided 60 jobs to the town of just over 1,000 residents. The new facility sits just across the street from the TPO plant and will be able to add 20 machine technician jobs for the community. Construction on the 250,000-square-foot facility began in 2019, and the plant is expected to be brought online by the end of 2021.
In addition to new jobs, the town has benefited in other ways from the presence of North America's largest roofing manufacturer. Through the company's Community Matters program, GAF employees invest their time, talent and resources to support local nonprofit organizations. In 2018, the company made a $10,000 donation to the township to fund a new fire engine. More recently, the company donated to Evangelical Hospital's COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which helps secure supplies to protect patients, caregivers, and hospital staff. Additionally, through the company's Touch-a-Heart campaign, employees and their families delivered 231 handmade Valentine's Day cards to residents in local nursing homes. GAF looks forward to continuing its involvement in the community and supporting its neighbors as it continues to grow in New Columbia.
Individuals looking to work for a company that is always innovating are encouraged to visit the GAF careers page and consider joining the GAF team.