At the Hoisington, Kansas, manufacturing facility of Superior Essex, key targets within the company’s sustainability goals recently have been met—and promise to have a far-reaching impact on global resource use. “Our environmental initiative is more than just a company objective,” says Tim Waldner, president of Superior Essex, an international leader in the design, manufacture, and supply of wire and cable products. “It’s an ethical responsibility to our communities and to future generations.”
For designers, engineers, and procurement managers using Superior Essex copper data cable products—an integral component of any new construction project or major renovation—the company’s environmental initiatives have allowed contributions toward points in LEED certification. Superior Essex is the first and only communications wire and cable manufacturer to obtain both environmental product declarations (EPDs) and health product declarations (HPDs) for their offerings, specifically on 25 of their four-pair premises copper products, which are used in high-performance cabling systems found in commercial buildings, campuses, and data centers.
“Up until now, organizations seeking LEED certification would not receive any credit for selecting cable products from companies who share their goal of sustainability,” says Steven Born, a LEED AP and the company’s senior applications engineer. “Now, they can benefit from our EPDs and HPDs that are a result of our commitment to landfill waste diversion, recycling, energy conservation, and reduced material usage.”
PolyOne, one of the world’s foremost polymer formulators, developed the jacketing material for Superior Essex’s wire and cable products covered under the new EPDs and HPDs. “We’re always asking ourselves how can we make it easier for our customers to run their businesses effectively,” says James Stephenson, director of global marketing for PolyOne Geon Performance Materials, which develops high-performance materials for the wire and cable industry. “And the answer is increasingly about providing them with more and better information.”
PolyOne is a specialty formulator for engineered plastics, colorants, and additives that go into every imaginable industry—from consumer products to construction materials—and offers dozens of environmentally conscious polymers. Whether it’s a bio-based plasticizer for healthcare applications, phthalate-free household plastics, or lead-free polymers for the toy industry, the company wants its clients—and the end consumer—to know what’s in its materials and what’s not, and EPDs have provided the tool to do this.
EPDs provide transparency for the environmental impacts of the manufacturing process, distribution, transportation, installation, use, and eventual disposal of each product, while HPDs are a tool for measuring and disclosing the impact of product ingredients on human and ecological health.
With the acquisition of these labels, Superior Essex has emerged as an industry leader in the innovation and design of sustainable cabling solutions. As it takes these first steps down the road toward greater sustainability, the company is not just shifting the culture of Superior Essex, but of the cable manufacturing industry as a whole.