The industrial sector, which includes the manufacturing industry, is among the top contributors of greenhouse gas emissions around the world. According to a 2014 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the industrial sector emits approximately 21% of all greenhouse gas and ranks third after the energy production (25%) and agricultural (24%) industries.
Fortunately, manufacturing companies worldwide have begun to take measures to reduce their carbon footprint. We have listed a few ecologically friendly ideas your plant can enforce to support the green movement.
Advantages of Eco-Friendly Initiatives
In addition to the necessity of adhering to environmental regulations, the benefits of adopting greener strategies is another compelling reason to do so.
First, Canadian businesses can access tax incentives for complying with environmental laws. Going green also allows manufacturing plants to cut costs (specifically on energy bills), enhance plant efficiency, and provide a safer working environment for employees. Finally, implementing these measures can enhance brand reputation and influence the buying decision of eco-conscious consumers. Ultimately, green initiatives can help you maintain your bottom line.
Here are a few things a factory can do to contribute to the green movement:
- Update facilities
Sustainability comes with the openness to welcome new equipment and new procedures. Acknowledging the need for change is the first step to a successful transition to green initiatives. This can range from considering the most straightforward act of changing light fixtures to embracing renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power.
- Audit your energy use
Energy consumption, whether electricity or gas, makes up a significant portion of the overhead costs of manufacturing companies. The first step in optimizing energy use throughout the plant is to measure the total consumption and identify sources by conducting an energy audit. By studying the use of energy within the facilities, you can ascertain weaknesses in the system and determine how best to address problematic sectors.
When you’ve done so, it’s imperative to follow up by continually monitoring usage. Set up a system to keep track of your newly established protocols to ensure optimal use.
- Manage energy consumption
Make energy-efficient facilities a goal during the next plant turnaround. Take advantage of the scheduled plant downtime to conduct an energy audit and then execute the necessary changes. It’s a small step, but it’s one in the right direction and makes the rest of the transition a little easier.
The usual culprits of massive energy consumption in manufacturing plants are:
- Industrial lighting – Many manufacturing companies use incandescent lights, which can be quite a significant energy and money drain. LED lighting uses approximately 75% less energy, lasts longer than other fixtures, and boosts the energy efficiency of your facilities.
- HVAC systems – Optimize your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. Paying close attention to the performance of your HVAC can save you money. Make sure that you are not leaking heated or cold air by upgrading your insulation. Make repairs when necessary. Perform regular preventative maintenance to increase efficiency and reduce the need for emergency fixes. Automate temperature controls with a digital thermostat.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle
“Reduce, reuse, recycle” — this slogan has been recited repeatedly over the past few decades in the attempt to indoctrinate the general populace of the need for conservation. While this has been the mantra of many citizens, it is only just recently that industries are making a conscious effort to take part. How can factories contribute to this effort?
In the manufacturing field, the most significant contributor to waste is acquiring and processing raw materials. Reduce waste by seeking out more sustainable sources of supplies. One example is the broadening use of cassava starch for manufacturing a form of plastic instead of using fossil fuel.
A factor that can compound issues with waste is inefficient processes on the floor. Inventory can be an opportunity for waste reduction and greening your operations. An overstock of materials leads to waste. When excess items are kept beyond their useful life, they are often discarded. Managing inventory tightly can result in reduced waste and a more efficient manufacturing process.
Another way to reduce waste is by using recycled products instead of raw materials. You can reuse excess products from your plant or purchase material from a supplier that uses recycled items. Shoe companies, Allbirds and Rothy’s, for example, manufacture footwear using recycled plastic.
- Opt for eco-friendly products
Products like chemical cleaners are a staple in most industries. However, most cleaning products contain toxic chemicals harmful to health (when breathed in) and the environment (when they make their way to the drainage and water supplies).
Fortunately, cleaners made with less toxic ingredients are now available in the market. Keep from contaminating water sources with deadly toxins by turning to greener cleaning products.
- Use alternative energy
When fossil fuels became the primary source of energy in the mid-1700s, nobody realized the kind of impact it would have on the planet. Though alternative forms of energy are gaining traction, the world’s dependence on fossil fuels has made it difficult to eliminate their use entirely. At first glance, the initial costs of setting up renewable power can be high, but amortizing costs over the lifespan of the equipment, the lower cost of maintenance, and the amplified efficiency of green measures can combine to save you money over the lifespan of the equipment.
There are many different strategies to incorporate alternative energy into your manufacturing process. You can opt to develop your facilities or have one built by a company that specializes in alternative energy. Alternatively, you can partner with an energy provider that relies on sustainable power.
Transitioning to more environmentally sound means of manufacturing can seem like a herculean task despite the benefits. However, the recent development of better and greener methods and technology can aid you in your effort to join the movement. Partnering with other companies going the eco-friendly route can also ease your burden.
Ready Machinery Movers is ready to support your company in your efforts to go greener. If you need to update your facilities, we will move and install new machinery and equipment or store old ones at our facility until you can decide. Contact us online, or call 1-800-211-2500 to request a quote.