Feura Bush factory rolls out new product

Owens Corning hopes EcoTouch insulation will lead to new jobs

Insulation maker Owens Corning is hoping to increase its workforce in the not too distant future after two rounds of recession-triggered layoffs have nearly halved the number of workers at its Delmar plant.

This hope for expansion is driven not only by a possible upturn in the housing market but by the new product the plant is producing. The Delmar facility (actually located in Feura Bush) recently took over three months to retool its lines to produce the company's new EcoTouch insulation, which consists of at least 50 percent recycled material.

Owens Corning showcased the new product and procedures to the public on Wednesday, May 4. Not only has the $8 million upgrade to the Delmar facility made a new, almost all-natural product possible, it has reduced the plant's emissions, said Plant Manager Louis St. Pierre.

It gets down to a people thing. I think that's so important to us, and this product I think is a real people product, he said.

Also on Wednesday, the company presented Pastor Perry Jones of the Capital City Rescue Mission with a check for $5,000. Owens Corning has been involved in the organization's efforts to build a 44-unit apartment complex in an old warehouse to act as transitional housing for the homeless, and the company is donating the insulation needed for the building and labor to install it. The recent donation will go towards purchasing materials for the $3.5 million project, Jones said.

"If we hadn't had the help of Owens Corning and other volunteer groups, we would have had to spend $6 million," he said.

The company is hoping that the EcoTouch insulation and its other environmentally friendly products will help boost business. The company has committed $17 million to expanding the Delmar factory to include another production line. That would also boost employment from the current 196 workers up to around 280. Back in early 2008, the plant employed 360.

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