Here's a list of strategies we use on a daily basis to reduce our use of materials and energy. At the bottom of this page is a list of ideas you can use in your home.
WITH 15 LUMBER YARDS AND THREE MANUFACTURING FACILITIES, WE EMPLOY NUMEROUS STRATEGIES TO RECYCLE, REUSE, AND REDUCE.
Our latest effort at saving energy resulted in an 80% reduction in electrical utility bills for just one warehouse!
How did we do it?
We have a 16,000 square foot lumber storage warehouse at our Structural Building Components Facility in Michigan. Fifteen 455W Metal-Halide fixtures were our source of light in this large building. Besides being expensive to operate, these fixtures needed a "warm-up" time of several minutes to reach full brightness. So shutting them on and off several times a day was not an option. And, given the fact that our plant was running two shifts a day the costs were adding up. Not to mention the waste factor of burned out bulbs.
We replaced this lighting with 16 six-bulb hi-efficiency fluorescent units, complete with motion sensors. One six-bulb unit consumes only 220 watts! This warehouse has a separate electrical meter, so we are able to monitor the energy usage of these new lights. When there is no movement in the building, the lights automatically shut off. Since installing the new fixtures in March of 2012, we have seen an 80% reduction in our monthly bills.
Future plans call for using these fixtures in our other warehouses throughout the company.
- Recycle paper waste
- Recycle cardboard
- Recycle aluminum material
- Recycle computers, fax machines, and other electronics
- Recycle toner and ink cartridges
- Recycle aluminum pop cans, plastic bottles, used batteries
- Return skids & pallets to suppliers for reuse
- Sell sawdust to horse farms
- Sell scrap lumber for use as kindling
- Cutoffs used as blocking/webbing in our manufacturing of roof & floor trusses at our Truss & Panel Plant
- Wood scraps are reused for heat at our Truss & Panel Plant
- Sell cull lumber for others to reuse
- Blueprints are plotted on 30% recycled paper
- Many Big C Lumber store roofs are coated with Kool-Rite White Elastomeric coatings to reduce amount of heat absorption - which aids in our cooling efforts.
- Energy Star compliant computer monitors are used company-wide
- We have reduced our paper usage approximately 50% using a computer document management system - and we are striving to lower it further still
- Most blueprints are delivered electronically with use of scanners and email
- HVAC systems routinely serviced
- Installing energy efficient lighting fixtures with motion sensor technology
FLEET VEHICLE STRATEGIES:
- Ship building materials to job sites from closest Big C Lumber location
- Intercompany transfer system of materials
- Enforce strict maintenance schedules for all company vehicles to maintain efficient performance
- Use re-tread tires whenever possible
What changes can you make to move towards a green lifestyle in your home? Here's a few ideas that may help:
- Use ENERGY STAR rated windows in your home. Big C Lumber features many different window products to choose from, in several different price points
- Consider replacing your older appliances with ENERGY STAR rated appliances. Most of today's new windows have ENERGY STAR ratings as well.
- Install low-flow or water restricted shower heads, faucets, and toilets.
- Dishwashers and washing machines that carry the ENERGY STAR rating are great ways to conserve water usage.
- Programmable lawn irrigation systems and rainwater collection systems.
- Install ceiling fans wherever possible. This will help circulate the air in individual rooms and may help to reduce the need for air conditioning and heating.
- Install a timer on your bath exhaust fan.
- Change your air conditioning/heating filters on a regular basis. Ninety days is the maximum for a standard 1" filter.
- Install motion detectors on outside lighting
These are just a handful of ideas to help conserve energy in and around your home. There are many resources available to help you decide what will work best for your situation. Making you home less energy dependent is an ongoing process - it's not something you will accomplish by just making a few changes. Over time though, the little changes will add up!