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.
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.
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.
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.