What are you doing to protect our environment for our children and grandchildren? April brings us Earth Month, and in preparation, we are offering nine ways your company can help minimize its carbon footprint and improve the environment. Bonus: going green is also good for your bottom line. Go green and save some green!
#1 – Conduct an energy audit. Many companies skip this step, but an audit will shine a bright light on where you may have inefficiencies that are wasting energy and money. Once you have a good idea of your energy consumption patterns, continue to monitor the situation to ensure that you reach benchmarks and achieve your goals for improvement.
#2 – Analyze your HVAC systems. Make sure you are up-to-date with your preventive maintenance schedule and that your plant is well insulated to prevent heated or cooled air from escaping. Use a programmable thermostat to automate temperature settings around-the-clock for maximum efficiency.
#3 – Let your light shine. Your LED light, that is. LED bulbs outperform incandescent or fluorescent bulbs by using 50 – 75% less energy, plus LED bulbs last up to 25 times longer. LED bulbs are also motion-detection friendly, which may allow you to save energy when there are no employees on the premises.
#4 – Tap into the sun’s power. According to solartribune.com, Toyota, L’Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle Purina, Anheuser-Busch, Owens Corning, Del Monte Foods, Mars Snackfood, and Atlantic Coast Freezers are some of the major manufacturers who have installed solar panels at their plants. Many manufacturing facilities are ideally suited for solar installations, with flat roofed structures located in open spaces. Employee parking lots make excellent locations for ground-mounted systems which provide the added benefit of providing a canopy to protect parked vehicles. And because of the scale of a commercial installation, the cost is about 1/3 per watt generated than the cost of a residential installation.
#5 – Convert your fleet to electric vehicles. Although the initial investment in an electric vehicle (EV) is higher than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, McKinsey estimates that the overall cost of ownership of an EV fleet could be 15 – 25 percent less than a fleet of ICE vehicles by 2030. That’s because of EVs overall efficiency and the relatively moderate cost of electricity.
#6 – Recapture waste energy. Heat escaping your plant through exhaust vents or stacks is wasted energy – and dollars. The concept of recycling that energy, called thermal energy recovery, can reduce energy consumption and result in significant cost savings. Thermal energy recovery is emission free and can be used for a variety of industrial purposes such as preheating boiler feedwater, steam generation, power generation and more.
#7 – Eliminate compressed air leaks. Compressed air leaks result in lower pressure, which causes your air compression system to work harder and less efficiently. A compressed air audit can help identify potential leaks, and a rigorous preventive maintenance schedule including filter replacement will prevent new leaks from forming.
#8 – Focus on maintaining cooling tower and chilling apparatus. Use particle filtration to eliminate suspended solids, descale your system several times a year, and maintain tank levels and cleanliness. Paying attention to your cooling system will contribute to waste stream reduction and reduce or eliminate the need for biocides.
#9 – Implement 5S and other efficiency technologies. 5S is a component of lean manufacturing that helps streamline the workflow to create efficiency and value. The 5S concepts are sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. Having an organized environment helps reduce waste and saves time and money.
In a post-Coronavirus economy, manufacturers will need every competitive edge available in order to survive. These green tips offer the potential to follow a leaner, greener path to success.