Vol. 3 2014: Green Manufacturing – How Manufacturers and Their Factories are Helping to Preserve Our Resources
Manufacturing, or factories to be specific, often hold the stigma of being polluters and natural resource depletors. With the large number of employees in a factory and the amount of merchandise produced, it is difficult to wrap your head around the fact that factories can be green. This article will dive into what manufacturers can do to be green, an introduction to Cradle to Cradle Certification, Ford Motor’s green roof – one of the largest green roofs in the world, how Kellogg factories have greatly reduced their water use, and Sloan Valve Company’s test rooftop wind turbines and solar array.
What is Green Manufacturing?
Green manufacturing is defined as “a system that integrates product and process design issues with issues of manufacturing, planning, and control in such a manner as to identify, quantify, assess, and manage the flow of environmental waste with the goal of reducing and ultimately minimizing environmental impact while also trying to maximize resource efficiency[i].” Simply put, it is about producing products that conserve our natural resources and minimize environmental impacts, such as reducing the amount of water used, recycling, decreasing waste, eliminating harmful toxins into the air, just to name a few. Being a green manufacturer means incorporating “green” from the design phase, right until the products’ end of life[ii].
What Manufacturers Can Do to Be Green
- Install water-efficient plumbing fixtures with auto sensors in employee/visitor washrooms
- Leaks can be identified by checking water meters during periods of work stoppage
- Water cooled equipment should be replaced with air cooled equipment
- Minimize landscape irrigation by planting native plants
- Recycle process water as much as possible
- Include water efficient fixtures in cafeterias
- Maximize condensate return in boiler units
- Reduce water temperature to minimize evaporation
Fabricated Metal Part Manufacturing[v]
- Switch to dry machining instead of water jet machining
- Install flow restrictors in supply pipes, which provides a constant water flow as opposed to exceeding predetermined flow rates
- Install conductivity controllers, which measures total dissolved solids and regulates the flow of fresh water into a system
- Install rinse times to reduce operator error and to help control when the incoming water pressure may rise and fall
- Change to spray rinsing rather than immersion rinsing
- Insert catch tanks under spray rinse systems for better water recycling
- High-pressure, low-volume spray or fog nozzles use less water than conventional spray systems
- Use air blowers or rags to wipe down parts instead of washing baths
Food Product Manufacturing[vi]
- Install rubber-disc scrubbing units instead of peeling units, which will reduce water
- Install high pressure clean up systems that are also low volume
- Use steam instead of water baths for blanching and pasteurizing
- Install evaporated coolers instead of water cooled systems
Case Study: Ford’s Green Roof
Ford Motor Company’s 600 acre River Rouge Plant is located near Dearborn, Michigan. In 2000, the plant underwent a redevelopment in the form of a green roof, which is considered one of the largest green roofs in the world[vii]. About 454,000 ft2 (42,178 m2) of the facility is covered with sedum (or stonecrop), which is a drought-resistant perennial groundcover, along with other plant life[viii].
This green roof reduces stormwater runoff from the plants by absorbing rainfall, and the plants reduce greenhouse gases by absorbing carbon dioxide and omitting oxygen. “This is not environmental philanthropy; it is sound business, which for the first time, balances the business needs of auto manufacturing with ecological and social concerns in the redesign of a brownfield site”, said Ford Chairman, Bill Ford. [ix]
Watts Green Roof Metered Overflow Drain – GRD-640
In addition to a green roof, other environmental initiatives for Ford Motor’s plant include[x]:
- Shallow green vegetated ditches seeded with native plants
- Phytoremediation, which uses plants to help eliminate contaminants found in some soil
- Porous paving, which filters water through the surface, adding water to the water bed and helps to manage storm water runoff
- Green screens, which are trellises that, over time, become covered in flowering vines that help cool the building
- Planting more than 1,500 trees and plant life that attract songbirds and create habitats
- The company is also evaluating the possibility of GeoExchange and wind power demonstration projects.
Cradle to Cradle Certification
The Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Innovation Institute is a non-profit organization about bringing “a new industrial revolution that turns the making of things into a positive force for society, economy and the planet”. [xi] The Cradle to Cradle Certified Mark provides consumers, regulators, and employees with a “tangible understanding of a manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability”. [xii]
For a manufacturer to have their product(s) certified in this program, they must be analyzed by assessors through this institute. After reviewing, the product is given a score ranging from basic to platinum, with the rating system based on five categories: energy, clean water, material health, social responsibility, and material reutilization. [xiii] For more information on scoring and categories, please visit http://www.c2ccertified.org/product_certification/c2ccertified_product_standard
Sloan Royal® 111 Flushometer
The following are benefits of having products certified by the Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute:[xiv]
- Use of the Cradle to Cradle Certified TM mark and the promotion of certified products by the Institute and its networks of partners.
- Certified products can earn up to two LEED points via the Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Material Ingredient.
- Certified products can be listed with marketing partners such as Material Connexion, Green Wizard, and the C2CExpolab.
- Certified U.S. products are listed with the U.S. EPA Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), representing $350 billion in federal agency spending power.
Case Study: Kellogg’s and Their Water Conservation Efforts
Kellogg’s relies on fresh water as part of their products’ ingredients, cleaning supplies, heating, cooling, irrigation, and for washroom uses. They are aware that water is not an endless supply, and that there is a limited amount of fresh water on our planet for us to use. With this awareness, Kellogg’s is taking great strides in using water wisely through use of water risk assessments, which are shared publically in an annual basis, and through changes in machinery and manufacturing processes[xv].
“We are determined to do our part to reduce our water use, to use water more efficiently, and to encourage our suppliers to do the same,” [xvi] says Diane Holdorf, Chief Sustainability Officer.
Rome, Georgia Plant
Since 2005, Kellogg’s plant in Rome, Georgia has reduced water use by 80%. This particular plant produces Rice Krispies Treats®, a very sticky snack that can be challenging to remove from surfaces. In order to clean these sticky surfaces at the factory, a lot of water was traditionally used. Realizing the amount of water that was being used, facility managers looked into other ways that their systems can be cleaned by reducing water. Using belt washer to clean the conveyer belts with high-pressure streams of water was what was decided on, which greatly reduced the amount of water. [xvii]
Another initiative that the company has undertaken was decommissioning one of their boilers. At the Georgia plant, they originally had two boilers for the use of sanitation and cleaning. Today, with the use of a high-efficiency water heating system (on demand hot water heater), they are only relying on one boiler. In the future, the remaining boiler will be completely shut down.[xviii]
Below are water reduction initiatives that have occurred across global Kellogg’s plants:[xix]
- Omaha, Nebraska:
Identified and repaired failing valves
Installed reduced flow spray nozzles for clean-in-place conveyor washing
Installed low flow hand washing sinks
- Manchester, U.K
Installed a reverse osmosis system, which treats water that has already gone through the factory’s wastewater treatment system.
The treated water is then used in gray water applications.
In 2012, the plant reduced water usage by 26%
Watts R14-04-1111000 7,200 gpd Floor Mounted RO w/ Adjustable Recovery
- Charmhaven, Australia
Installed an automated tub washer, and eliminated the use of manual washing, which is expected to use 90% less water
- Queretaro, Mexico
None of the water used in this plant has been discharged into the public wastewater treatment system for the past decade. All wastewater is treated onsite and reused for irrigation purposes
Case Study: Sloan Valve Company Tests Rooftop Wind Turbines and Solar Array
Sloan has recently collaborated with an energy innovation company, Aerotecture, for their Franklin Park, Illinois headquarters to become a test site for wind and solar energy. The turbines and solar planels will work together to create adequate energy levels. “The test will help determine which wind turbine/solar array equipment works best in urban environments,” said Sloan Marketing Manager, Tim Schiffbauer. Sloan’s mission is about offering green products, and this test helps emphasize this important message.[xx]
Manufacturers and their factories can in fact be green. At first, it may seem like an expensive and challenging undertaking, but soon enough companies will begin to see that the benefits outweigh the costs. Upgrading to machinery that use less water and more pressure, recycling water, and creating green roofs are some of the changes that many manufacturers have incorporated into their factories, and have proven successful in preserving and protecting our resources, and even reducing their costs.
For more information on the products featured in the article, please contact ATS.
[i] Getting Serious About Green Manufacturing. (December 21, 2009). Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-market-insight-top.do?id=188029142
[ii] Getting Serious About Green Manufacturing. (December 21, 2009). Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-market-insight-top.do?id=188029142
[iii]Sloan Tests Sustainable Energy With Wind Turbines, Solar Array. Retrieved September 17, 2014, from http://www.sloanvalve.com/Wind_turbines.pdf
[iv] Manufacturing. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.savewaterpa.org/audience/businesses/manufacturing/
[v] Manufacturing. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.savewaterpa.org/audience/businesses/manufacturing/
[vi] Manufacturing. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.savewaterpa.org/audience/businesses/manufacturing/
[vii] Ford Rouge Factory Tour. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.thehenryford.org/rouge/leedlivingroof.aspx
[viii] Ford Rouge Factory Tour. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.thehenryford.org/rouge/leedlivingroof.aspx
[ix] Ford Rouge Factory Tour. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.thehenryford.org/rouge/leedlivingroof.aspx
[x] Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge Plant. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.greenroofs.com/projects/pview.php?id=12
[xi] Cradle to Cradle Certified Products. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.c2ccertified.org/product_certification/
[xii] Cradle to Cradle Certified Products. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.c2ccertified.org/product_certification/
[xiii] Cradle to Cradle Certified Products. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.c2ccertified.org/product_certification/
[xiv] Cradle to Cradle Certified Products. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.c2ccertified.org/product_certification/
[xv] Atkinson, W. (July 11, 2013). How Kellogg Conserves on a Global Scale. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.sustainableplant.com/2013/07/how-kellogg-conserves-water-on-a-global-scale/
[xvi] Atkinson, W. (July 11, 2013). How Kellogg Conserves on a Global Scale. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.sustainableplant.com/2013/07/how-kellogg-conserves-water-on-a-global-scale/
[xvii] Atkinson, W. (July 11, 2013). How Kellogg Conserves on a Global Scale. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.sustainableplant.com/2013/07/how-kellogg-conserves-water-on-a-global-scale/
[xviii] Atkinson, W. (July 11, 2013). How Kellogg Conserves on a Global Scale. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.sustainableplant.com/2013/07/how-kellogg-conserves-water-on-a-global-scale/
[xix] Atkinson, W. (July 11, 2013). How Kellogg Conserves on a Global Scale. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.sustainableplant.com/2013/07/how-kellogg-conserves-water-on-a-global-scale/
[xx] Sloan Tests Sustainable Energy With Wind Turbines, Solar Array. Retrieved September 17, 2014, from http://www.sloanvalve.com/Wind_turbines.pdf