Sustainable Manufacturing: Eco-Friendly Ideas For Your Plant

The industrial sector, which includes the manufacturing industry, is the third largest global source of greenhouse gas emissions. Shockingly, the sector emits roughly 21% of all greenhouse gasses, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reveals. Fortunately, there are a number of ways manufacturing companies can lower their carbon footprints, adopt eco-friendly equipment and practices, and become more sustainable.

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Audit energy use

Manufacturing plants typically use huge amounts of gas or electric energy. Adopting energy-efficient practices to optimize the plant’s energy use can slash costs considerably. Start by conducting an energy audit — ideally during the next scheduled plant downtime — to identify areas requiring improvement. HVAC systems, in particular, are huge energy and money drainers. Replace the filters and insulation so hot or cold air doesn’t escape. Repairs may also be needed. Temperature controls can be precisely automated with a programmable digital thermostat.

Additionally, common industrial lighting like incandescent bulbs should be switched out for LED lighting, which uses 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer. Keep track of your eco-friendly changes and monitor energy use to make sure you’re operating at maximum efficiency.

Minimize waste

Reducing manufacturing waste is an effective way of making your plant more sustainable. For example, limit the quantity of excess raw materials your plant has in stock; order just enough material for the job it’s needed for each time. Work on recovering waste from both onsite and offsite locations with the help of techniques like centrifugation, electrolysis, reverse osmosis, or filtration.

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Alternatively, recycling materials is a simple way to recover useful materials (recycling hazardous materials, however, usually isn’t eco-friendly). High-power, industrial shredders, in particular, can help you deal with a number of waste materials (such as, wood, plastic, rubber, and asphalt) by considerably reducing their size. Investing in durable equipment also reduces waste. For example, Bobcat T190 tracks are designed to minimize wear and tear to the tire. The thick, high-quality rubber lasts longer, so the tires need replacing less often.

Switch to renewable energy

Switching to renewable energy can help your plant generate its own clean electricity and heating. In fact, by 2035, renewable energy is set to be the main global power source, according to the 2019 Clean Jobs America report. Green power sources like solar, wind, biomass, geothermal heat, and rain are also cheaper than traditional fossil fuel energy sources.

Depending on your state, you may also be able to benefit from tax incentives and earn money back. You can also support renewable energy by selecting a renewable electricity tariff with your supplier. This means either some or all of the power your plant uses will be matched by your supplier purchasing green energy.

Making your manufacturing plant more eco-friendly certainly isn’t an overnight job. However, it’s well worth the time and effort it takes to make positive and permanent changes. Switching to sustainable practices and equipment will help the environment, save energy, and improve your bottom line.

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Save Energy

Saving money is important for businesses and saving energy is important for all of us – so here is the perfect mix of both and some great tips for small businesses to save on energy. Remember, these are not the only ways you can save on your energy costs. You have to ensure that you are on the best electricity rate plan that is right for your business. Energy comparison sites like Electricityrates.com can help you find the best rates around your area to suit your business needs. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code, and you’ll get a list of electric providers in your area to choose from based on your preferences.

  1. Get A Free Energy Audit

A full energy audit helps identify issues that might be causing energy wastage – these include insulation issues and air leaks. Most electricity utility companies offer these audits free of charge. The inspection not only helps you determine how energy is used but also ways to address energy wastage.  The audit report will also recommend ways to keep your energy usage on the low, such as investing in energy efficient lighting and equipment.

Inquire with Josco Energy Corporation about a free audit.

  1. Invest in Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Energy efficient (energy-star rated) appliances use up less energy as compared to older non-rated ones. That said, it would be advisable for you to lease/buy energy star rated office electronics.  This should help see your energy bills drop significantly, hence substantial cost savings in the long run.

  1. Avoid Peak Demand

Peak demand can be defined as the time of the day when there’s a high demand for energy. These are the hours when energy usage is the highest. The typical peak hours start from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Reducing your demand for electricity during these times and only running the factory and heavy equipment early in the morning, and later in the evening can help reduce energy consumption. Reducing your demand for energy during peak hours also means the business spends less on energy usage at the end of the day.

  1. Use Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats make it easy to monitor and control temperatures in the workplace when everyone is in the office (9 – 5), and away. The thermostat can be programmed to turn OFF the heating and cooling appliances during the night, and back ON a few minutes to ‘work hours’. This in return sees you save lots of energy that would have otherwise been wasted had the HVAC systems remained on through the night.

  1. Switch Off Lights in Unused Areas

Most offices have an always-on lights setup. This means the lights in all rooms including bathrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and even unused corridors. This leads to energy wastage which can be preserved if lights were only turned on when needed. Installing sensors to turn the lights on or off when required could help too.

  1. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs use up more energy for the same amount of light when compared to CFLs and LEDs that use just a fraction of it. Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFL or LEDs should help the company use less energy in lighting. This is the simplest and easiest ways to save energy in the workplace.

  1. Make Use of Natural Light

Always take advantage of the natural sunlight whenever you can. You can do so by drawing the blinds, curtains, and opening the windows to allow the sunlight in. Be sure to switch off lights in well-lit areas well. Letting the sunlight in also means you get passive heating from the sun, hence no need to have the heaters on. While it may seem like nothing, taking advantage of the natural sunlight should help save the business a few kilowatt hours a day.

  1. Run Fans

Have fans installed in showrooms, warehouses, kitchens, and offices alike. The fans will help keep the air moving, hence facilitate optimal air circulation. This means the HVAC system will run more efficiently and smoothly translating to lower energy consumption.

  1. Power Down Computers and Other Office Equipment When Not in Use

Having everyone power down their computers at the end of the day should help save lots of energy. You might also want to set the laptops to go to sleep or hibernate if not used for a certain number of minutes or hours. Be sure to turn off and unplug other electronic devices from the mains sockets.

Although modern toasters, coffee makers, printers, and other office appliances have a ‘sleep’ mode when not in use, these continue to draw some current if left plugged. Unplugging these will save some more kilowatts. 

  1. Avoid ‘Phantom’ Energy

As mentioned earlier, some equipment will continue to draw electricity when plugged in.  That said, making it a habit of unplugging such devices or using a power strip on them, can help save some energy. With a power strip, a simple flip of the switch will cut electricity supply to the connected devices. 

  1. Make Adjustments to the Surrounding Landscape

If you have control over the landscape around, you can then use it to your advantage. Energy-efficient landscaping, such as planting trees strategically to block winds and provide shelter, will go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs.

  1. Involve the Employees

Encouraging the employees to take on energy-efficiency practices can help reduce electricity costs and energy wastage too. Train the employees to turn off their computers after work, switch off lights, as well as use energy efficient appliances in the workplace.  Inspiring them to save more energy should work well for the company. You can see more tips and tricks on how to improve employee energy-saving practices here.

The Easiest Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills

As the climate warms, it’s more important than ever to consider how you can lower your carbon footprint as a homeowner.And lowering your carbon footprint has another huge benefit: you can often save money as a result of green upgrades to your home. For example, solar energy can save you around $600 a year in energy costs. Of course, there are many other reasons why you should use solar energy, but the primary reason to use it is that it is a renewable source, i.e., it will last for billions of years.

Besides making structural changes—like adding solar panels, for example, to your home, there are other ways to save on your utility bills such as turning off lights you’re not using. Below, we’ve gathered our tops tips for saving money on energy – and helping out the planet, too!

Take advantage of sunshine during the winter

The sun is basically free heat for your home. Homeowners can take advantage of what’s called passive solar design. During the day, open the curtains on south-facing windows to let the sunshine inside so it can warm up your house. This will keep your home considerably hotter during the colder months.

Don’t forget to close the curtains when the sun sets so you can keep as much of that trapped solar heat as possible. Consider investing in thick, insulated curtains, which will help keep heat inside your living spaces.

Pay attention to your ceiling fan’s rotation in winter and summer

As you may know, warm air rises. Instead of letting that warm air go up, up and away, you can leverage your ceiling fan to keep that warm air close to you and your family. Reverse your ceiling fan’s rotation so that it turns clockwise instead of counterclockwise. This will keep the hot air in your living spaces.

And during the hotter months, make sure the fan is spinning counterclockwise to pull hot air away from you.

Get a new roof

A new roof can make a huge difference in your energy savings. Best of all? Energy-efficient roofing helps you save money in both the colder and warmer months. Many new types of roofing are “cool roofs” which reflect more of the sun’s rays instead of allowing solar heat to permeate into the home. This means that you don’t have to run the AC as low or as often. In the winter, a new roof helps prevent warm air from escaping.

Plus, in many areas, you might be eligible for a government tax incentive for replacing an old roof with an energy-efficient version.

Seal drafts around windows, doors, and other areas of your home

One of the best methods for determining what areas of your home can be more energy-efficient is by conducting a DIY energy audit. To do an energy audit, light an incense stick and watch to see if smoke is pulled to cracks in the windows or under the doors. You can also sometimes feel drafts by simply putting your palm up around the edges of windows and doors. Once you find drafty areas, it’s important to seal up those holes with weather stripping or caulking.

Fixing air leaks will benefit you both in the summer and the winter because it helps keep your HVAC system from working overtime.

Invest in a smart thermostat

A smart thermostat is a prudent investment, especially if you regularly forget to turn off the A/C or heat when you leave for work or errands. That wasted energy can add up to a big utility bill at the end of the month. A smart thermostat regulates the temperature and automatically programs a specific range to keep you comfortable but turns off in unoccupied rooms.

Schedule regular maintenance

Routine maintenance is essential to promote the longevity of your HVAC system and to ensure that your home isn’t wasting energy. Make sure to replace filters at least once a month and keep tabs on how old your HVAC system is, most systems need to be replaced every 15-20 years.

Takeaways

There are a variety of reasons as to why it’s in your best interest to find ways to make your home greener. Not only do green upgrades ultimately save you money, they also help the planet during a time when a climate emergency is threatening our very existence. If you want to see a smaller utility bill and live a more eco-friendly life, utilize some of the tips mentioned in this article. You’ll save money and help save earth, too.