Pangaea team

A Model for Minimizing Environmental Impacts in Stone Veneer Production: Pangaea® Natural Stone

Pangaea® Natural Stone was named after a supercontinent that existed millions of years ago, when all of Earth’s lands were united. So it makes sense that while its industrial base is in India, Pangaea operates with environmental standards that recognize it’s part of one connected world.

“I don’t think there’s a finish line to sustainability,” said Pangaea President Sanjay Nikhanj. “There’s no goal you end up crossing and say, oh wow, I’m officially sustainable. It’s a goal that we continually work towards as a company and simply try to get better every year.”

Instone customers may know Pangaea for its pre-cut, tooled and trimmed stones that seamlessly fit together, making life easy for masons. They may know Pangaea for pallets that come pre-arranged with an optimal balance of colors and sizes, saving time and money before the first stone is even installed. Fewer would know the lengths the company goes to ensure its work leaves the environment in as good a condition as they found it.

Long Term Sustainable Development

Nikhanj said Pangaea is demonstrating that sustainability is not just the right thing to do, but a profitable exercise. The greening measures taken at its plant could be considered a model for the industry globally, but are especially above and beyond for Jaipur, the northern Indian natural stone industry hub where it’s located.

A solar array on the facility’s roof produces 530 KW of energy, enough to cover 50 percent of its manufacturing needs. Pangaea hopes to bump that number up in the future to further reduce energy consumption, but for now is constrained by the local infrastructure, as the power grid can’t handle any more input from the site. 

Pangaea Natural Stone employees ribbon cutting ceremony

Covering 35,000 square feet, it’s India’s largest building-integrated InRoof system to date! The 530 kWp InRoof solar panel system, designed by @ornatesolar, is powered by microinverters from @enphase.

With this revolutionary InRoof system, we have saved 124,968 kg of CO2 that would have been emitted in the production of the 35,000 square foot steel roof. Our installation will help us meet our sustainability goals by offsetting 18,346 tons of CO2 emissions! You can be confident your stone veneers are being manufactured sustainably and responsibly.

Further, Pangaea is the first company in India to install an in-roof solar array. These solar panels aren’t mounted to the roof – they are the roof. Nikhanj notes that this building method reduced Pangaea’s carbon footprint by eliminating the need to produce steel or other building materials.

A Recycling Innovator 

The solar roof requires a significant amount of water to keep it clean and produce power at an optimal level. However, Pangaea has faced this problem by instituting an innovative water recycling system. Water that runs off the roof is quickly captured and filtered by three on-site water treatment plants. 

“Saving water is the right thing to do, but in this case, it’s not profitable,” Nikhanj said. “It would be cheaper to waste that water and fill up the tanks again, but not recycling and wasting millions of liters weekly doesn’t make any sense. Where we are is a desert environment and water is a challenge.”

Even its manufacturing byproducts are recycled adding to their environmentally friendly processes.. The leftover chips from cut stones are donated to communities to use for the foundations of buildings and infrastructure projects. Wood shavings leftover from assembling the shipping crates are compacted and made available to families to burn for home heating and cooking. This has the added impact of saving trees that would have been cut down to fulfill their needs, Nikhanj said. 

Pangaea employee running tests

The packing crates are specially designed to thwart the spread of invasive pest species. The pine used is inspected to ensure that its moisture levels are too low to harbor any insects that would bore into the wood. Each crate is International Plant Convention (IPC) certified and stamped. 

“We’ve had huge problems globally as a result of foreign species that have no natural predators attacking vegetation,” Nikhanj said. “It’s devastating forests. I live in British Columbia and when you drive up north, there are places where it literally looks like there’s been a forest fire.”

An Infinite Mindset

Nikhanj said Pangaea’s leadership takes all of these steps because it subscribes to an “infinite mindset” – a belief that a business can serve a higher purpose than just making money. It extends to how it treats employees and the communities that surround it. 

Pangaea Natural Stone employees rescuing a dog

Pangaea is a generous donor to charities that rescue stray dogs and provide educational resources for children, especially young girls. Nikhanj said many female students in the region are underprivileged and don’t have access to the same opportunities as their male counterparts. 

The company’s website asserts its commitment to safe working conditions, fair wages and equality for workers. It seeks to promote women in the workplace, even though in India, they’re still few in number in the industry. 

To Nikhanj, the key to making an infinite mindset yield tangible results is surrounding yourself with people who see the big picture. He said business leaders too often see themselves as sports coaches obsessed with winning and losing rather than as value creators. 

“We’ve never had a sales goal in our last 20 years of existence,” he said. “I don’t even know what a sales goal looks like. We are constantly competing against ourselves. I couldn’t tell you what the competition is doing. I hope whatever they’re doing is right by the environment, right by the community and right by the people.”

Learn more about Pangaea’s natural stone products available through Instone and watch them our interview with Sanjay here on InBuilding Design. 

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