Attendees Learn How to Go Green and Save MoneyApril 12th, 2011 by DWM Magazine
Would you like to save thousands yearly through changing the lighting in your plant? What about “north of six figures” due to a comprehensive green strategy? Or $280,000 through bulk purchasing? Attendees learned how to do that and more when they listened to panelists Todd Rascoe, vice president of operations for Thermal Industries, a division of Atrium; Andre Touchette, president of Royal Group’s Eastern Region, Canada; and Steve Chen, president of Crystal Window and Doors, speak during a session about going green in the plant held at Fenestration Day.
Rascoe outlined how attendees may apply for subsidies and rebates through their utility companies to change the lighting in their plants. His Pennsylvania-based company recently received a $40,000 rebate to do just that.
“If you can see better, you have less errors—it’s just that simple,” said Rascoe, who added that the company stocks different color profiles that were very difficult to differentiate with the old lighting.
“Imagine from a quality standpoint how much easier it is to get it right now,” said Rascoe. “With our new lighting we are also able to detect scratches.”
That results in additional cost savings as internal reworks are reduced as well as service calls.
Rascoe said the company also eliminated all task lighting and said this also helped the company reduce its demand load factor. Additionally, Thermal Industries replaced old thermostats with programmable ones and de-stratifies warm air through the use of large fans.
A Full-Scale Approach
Royal’s Touchette focused on the company’s full-scale approach to “going green” and stressed that this is a philosophy that must be a part of your “day-to-day job.”
“It’s not something you do when you have time,” said Touchette.
For Royal, it is definitely a priority as Touchette pointed out that company’s goal is 80-percent waste reduction and the company should reach that goal by the end of the year.
That journey has included everything from revisiting most packaging on its products, $35,000 in savings just from garbage disposal and revisiting employee habits, such as having employees dress for the weather instead of turning up the thermostat.
All of these initiatives, and many more, have resulted in “north of six figure savings,” said Touchette.
The panelists didn’t just focus on reducing its waste produced through production of doors and windows. They tackled all the ways they could save money in their plants and facilities, including replacing the toilets. At Royal they translated into savings of 4-5,000 gallons of watera day.
It’s the Little Things that Add Up
Crystal’s Chen also looked at his facility’s water usage, after getting an idea from the waterless urinals at the New Yankee stadium. The company installed these in their plant and saved $225 per urinal as well as 90,000 liters of water a year.
Other initiatives put into place include reusing the cardboard corners on window packaging, installing motion sensors for lights, use of photovoltaic solar panels in its building and encouraging employees to order food instead of driving to a restaurant. Crystal then picks up that delivery cost and tip, while also telling the companies to not bring plastic utensils.
The company also eliminated ten overnight trips through use of teleconferencing for various meetings, and offers afternoon exercise classes that last 20 minutes.
“Our insurance agents love it,” said Chen, “and it reduces sick days.”
The panel discussion generated much discussion among attendees and one panelist even commented that he learned a great deal from his fellow panelists.
One attendee asked if any of the company have had problems finding companies to recycle their waste. Panelists reported that the opposite is true.
“We have companies bid for our recycling,” said Chen. “They don’t mind paying to come get it and the deal is they have to take the rest of our trash as well.”
Touchette closed out the panel by reminding attendees to make this a priority at their companies.
“This must be approached as any other business decision,” he said. “Usually it is first on the chopping block, but you need to make sure that doesn’t happen.”