When it comes to the negative impact of different industries on the environment, the manufacturing sector is often scrutinized due to the output and input of materials, and the potential waste created in the process. As the owner of an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) operation, there is pressure on you to improve the sustainability of your business.
Here are some measures you can take:
Undergo an energy survey
First, subject your business to an energy survey. It is a systematic audit about the energy use and consumption throughout your facilities, with the goal of identifying areas that need improvement. An energy survey can be as detailed as a thorough assessment of your operation’s investment grade, or be as simple as a facility walkthrough.
You can carry out a basic survey on your own. The Carbon Trust published a guide to energy surveys that contains the things you need to know about conducting your own walkthrough, and what steps you should take to meet the investment grade’s specifications. If you prefer a more in-depth survey, hire an energy professional to go through everything with a fine-tooth comb.
Improve your heating efficiency
An energy survey often highlights the efficiency of your premises at retaining the warmth generated by the heating system. If it has a subpar insulation, you could be spending a lot just to generate heat that gets lost outdoors. Typically, older buildings are less energy-efficient, and require more effort to improve their heating retention.
For a more efficient heating system, you can add internal or external insulation to your walls, cover pipes and tanks with insulative cladding, and draught-proof the building. You can also install a programmable thermostat that lets you control the temperature within your facility more precisely. Smart thermostats also have many timer options where you can set the heating to automatically activate during work hours, and turn off afterwards, so you will not have to worry about turning it on and off every day.
Cut down on waste
Review your manufacturing process, and identify any factors that cause you to produce unnecessary byproducts, so you can reduce them. The waste can be anything from extra energy that powers your machinery, to leftover materials from finished products.
Look for outdated equipment or one that is outperformed by a more efficient model, and get rid of it. Invest in new technology that reduces your energy consumption, while speeding up the production line. You can also install an electrical power management system (EPMS) that gives you real-time and historical data to identify, monitor, and address wasteful practices. See if you can alter your product design to make the production more efficient.
Consider the kind of waste you end up with, and come up with more eco-friendly ways to manage it. Instead of sending it to a landfill, perhaps you can recycle the waste or use it for a new product line. Maybe you can send it to other industries that need these materials, too. Or, if you are dealing with hazardous materials, look into employing a more sustainable hazardous waste disposal system.
A lot of people think of the manufacturing industry as one of the world’s biggest pollutants. But as this age is about subverting expectations and breaking stereotypes, you can do the same with your business by becoming a sustainable manufacturer.
Meta Title: Sustainable Manufacturing Practices for an Eco-Friendly Business
Meta Description: There is growing concern about how the manufacturing industry affects the environment. If you own an OEM business, you can address those by taking these measures.