Gary Jakubcin is the Manager of Owens Corning Corporate Sustainability’s Green Products and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Team. His primary responsibility includes providing life cycle assessments on products, evaluating external green guidelines and standards as to their impact on existing products and development of new products, managing third party certifications of products and developing eco-efficient type tools for use in our product development programs. Jakubcin has over 39 years of diverse industry experience, which include engineering, safety, environmental, manufacturing, and corporate responsibilities. He is a certified Life Cycle Practitioner from the American Center of Life Cycle Assessment and serves as co-chair of ACMA’s Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Technical Committee. He is the keynote speaker at ACMA’s Green Composites Workshop, June 20-21.
How did you first get involved in composites and what is your main interest?
As of present, my main interest is supporting the composite business thru the use of life cycle thinking tools. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is just one tool to help manufacturers, and there are many tools that are available depending on what problem you’re addressing. I first got involved with ACMA’s LCI Committee because of my expertise as a licensed LCA practitioner. There are only 45 total in North America so when ACMA decided it wanted to start the LCI process, and since Owens Corning is a member company, it was a perfect fit for the need and my background in LCI thinking and processes.
What challenge do composites face against competitive materials?
Composite products are very unique in that they can be used from handles on garden tools to parts used in airplanes. Composites provide durable and light weight solutions to their respective markets. The big driver for increased market share is educating the marketplace on how composite tools are just as sustainable–if not better–than the competitive products made from other materials such as steel or aluminum.
The problem the composites industry is up against right now is that these materials already have their data out there, having done LCAs, whereas we didn’t have anything out there. We want people to be able to look at and compare data and make product decisions based on facts, not emotion. Once we have information published, composite manufacturers can see what the information means to them and their processes. Then they can talk intelligently to their customers when they ask, “why should I buy, why is it more sustainable?” The LCI will give them the technical wherewithal to do it, which then helps the market place to make more informative decisions with the use of data.