No business - large or small - likes big expenditures, which is why many shy away from the costs typically associated with "going green." However, there are plenty of ways to do so that both carry relatively little in terms of up-front expenses and which, over time, can actually carry a significant return on investment - even in a factory setting.
Here are five suggestions for reducing your manufacturing company's carbon footprint without breaking the bank or compromising your bottom line:
1) Get a better handle on heating and cooling
One of the biggest costs for any business - let alone one that occupies a massive space like a manufacturing facility - is heating and cooling their workspaces, according to Beekeeper. Often, these systems don't operate as efficiently as one might expect because of their continual use, so it's wise to invest in an assessment of their effectiveness and a tune-up for any problem areas that evaluations turn up. Sometimes, it's also a good idea to simply replace decades-old units with newer, more efficient models.
2) Switch to better materials
The materials you use in your manufacturing processes matter, Beekeeper advised. It may not always be possible, but looking into whether raw materials you've used for years are the best available, both in terms of their cost effectiveness and eco-friendliness, is a must for any company looking to reduce its carbon footprint.
3) Reconsider lighting
Much like heating and cooling, it often takes more energy than you might expect just to keep every inch of your shop floor well-lit, but a change is relatively simple to make, according to Reliable Plant. Switching to LED lighting instead of incandescent or florescent bulbs will typically reduce your facility's power use by a significant margin, and at the same time extend the life of every bulb because they last for years even with continual use.
4) Swap out your old electric motors
Many factories make use of vehicles that have electric motors, and that's certainly more efficient and safer than using gas-powered equipment, Reliable Plant added. However, recharging these machines still consumes a lot of energy, and it could therefore be wise to look into replacing the motors in older models with newer, more efficient options that are available today. The initial investment could be sizable depending upon how many vehicles you have in-house, but the cost savings over time would likely be even more significant.
5) Reduce waste
Finally, it can be a good idea for companies to look at how much they're throwing out in a given week and see if there are ways they can reduce that, according to Greenbiz. While some waste is unavoidable - no one has a 100% efficient manufacturing process, after all - there may be plenty of ways to slash the amount of output you have, which you may not have considered before. Getting everyone engaged in reducing waste may be key to ensuring you're doing your part to operate more efficiently.
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