|Facilities and Personnel||| Print ||
Brown’s green philosophy is to continually improve and seek out innovative new options to reduce our footprint. We could not accomplish this without the passion and efforts of our employees. Brown asks each employee to take personal responsibility for our collective environmental efforts and has created employee incentive programs to encourage environmental innovation. Brown employs Environmental and Safety Managers at each of our facilities that monitor environmental and chemical compliance and classification information. A full time Environmental Engineer focuses on energy consumption as well as evaluating the impact of new programs, equipment, and processes.
Each of Brown’s facilities has an environmental plan outlining past and current reduction activities, specifying objectives for the year, and covering required state and federal reporting objectives. Each plan is evaluated and updated annually to determine if the outlined objectives were met. Brown’s environmental program is constantly evolving with new technology, ideas, and best practices. In 2008, Brown charged an environmental task force with the goal to implement and share best practices company wide. As a result of the task force, we challenged employees to find inefficiencies in our air compressor system, one of the most energy intensive areas of production. The results of this challenge were savings of over 600,000 kWh per year.
Brown’s annual Earth Day celebration raises awareness both internally and in the communities we work in. This year, our facilities participated in tree plantings, roadside and stream cleanups, and organized an environmental energy fair that featured demonstrations on energy saving techniques for both the home and office. As part of the celebration, we also made a donation in honor of our customers to the World Wildlife Fund. In 2010, we plan to strengthen the involvement of our employees in our green efforts through challenges and awareness programs that contribute to the goals of our environmental program.
With our nationwide manufacturing platform, our three facilities play a large part in our green initiatives. For 50 years, Brown has operated on the belief that there is no better way to improve these programs and processes than continual evaluation, innovation, and self regulation. The results are impressive and we continue to lower our operating permits for volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants.
We have installed computerized building management systems to efficiently control cooling/heating, ventilation, and other electrical/mechanical systems. Lighting fixtures have been replaced with high efficiency fluorescent lighting that increases light levels by 50% while dramatically reducing energy consumption. Savings from this project alone totaled over 6.5 million kWh, equivalent to the power used annually by 664 homes. Motion sensors have also been installed to turn lighting off in less used areas, leading to further energy savings. With tracking and data analysis we are able to further optimize our systems and reduce our energy consumption. In 2008 and 2009, we added unique virtual electric load meters by plant area to raise visibility of department and machine energy use. Through our internal company portal, each employee can access this information to monitor the company’s progress.
Brown has also established green standard operating procedures. For example, before any chemical can be implemented in our process, the MSDS for the chemical must be reviewed by the Environmental, Health, and Safety Department for employee safe use, and for environmental reporting requirements. Our in house samplings for particulate and organic vapor in the air register as non-detectable, a direct result of the operating procedures we have put in place. Even with current usage that produces very low output, we continue to request and test products that contain even less volatile organic compounds, less hazardous air pollutants, and are friendlier to both the health of our employees and the environment. At Brown’s Waseca, MN facility, our stringent practices have enabled us to reduce our reporting requirements of the 313 chemicals on the EPA’s SARA list from 4 to 1. Usage of the remaining chemical has been reduced by 75% from the baseline year of 1991, and we are continually evaluating ways to reduce our usage further.
To advance and strengthen our green standard operating procedures, Brown plans to invest $10 million for green initiatives over the next three years. Through our many programs and activities, we have achieved great results that save energy, reduces waste, and create sustainability, which is a program that we are proud of.