The leaves are almost peeping, birds are thinking about singing in the morning, and green manufacturing is the topic of springtime. We’ve all seen the marketing trend but what does green manufacturing actually look like? Though it’s more popular than ever before, a business should consider going green for the extreme efficiency and cost savings rather than the trend itself.
Having a small energy footprint means less energy consumption and lower operating costs. There’s also the matter of tax credits and incentives in the United States, which offer an additional benefit to being a green company.
Additionally, having a green reputation is generally positive for consumers, and can be a great sales boost depending on how you decide to rebrand after a major operations overhaul.
But how do you actually “go green,” and why does sustainability matter?
Why You Should Be Concerned With Going Green
Sustainability ties into the whole “going green” process and involves lowering your dependency on modern fossil fuels. Essentially, the lower your energy footprint, and the more energy you’re able to produce yourself, the more sustainable you are. It’s about having less of an impact on the surrounding environment.
This can be done in one of two ways. The first is obviously reducing energy consumption by adopting more efficient hardware, setups and processes. You lower your dependency on electricity and, by proxy, the need to waste so much money on operation and production.
The second way is to adopt renewable energy sources or systems internally, whether it be solar, wind or even water. The renewable energy feeds back into power consumption, cutting down on the amount of actual non-renewable-powered energy you’re using. In many cases, you can produce an abundance of renewable power, and maybe even sell some of the extra energy back to the power company.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Footprint
Of course, to have a zero or truly low footprint, you need to optimize your current hardware and processes. The goal is to update existing machinery and equipment, swapping it out for more energy efficient tech. You can also install IoT and automated sensors to make lighting and power more efficient within a plant. Imagine a smart thermostat that automates cooling and temperature controls within your plant, turning off power-hungry air cooling units when no one is in the building.
Then there’s waste, which needs to have more innovative uses than simply being tossed aside or chucked into a landfill somewhere. Naturally, during manufacturing and production, waste is created, but rather than dump it, recycling or reusing it is part of the low footprint approach.
A modern example of this? The major retailer Walmart has moved toward a greener future, choosing to adopt hybrid vehicle technologies for its transportation and shipping fleet.
What Is the True Impact of Going Green?
Though the United States only makes up about 5% of the total world population, we are responsible for producing 40% of the world’s waste — more than any other country. Nearly one billion trees worth of paper alone is thrown away every year in this country. That’s a lot of waste and doesn’t even include the amount of energy and water we consume and/or waste.
The cost of inefficiency and waste likely explains why 75% of manufacturers have watched their materials costs grow considerably. Going green is one of the best ways to cut down on these rising costs — and help future-proof our world and environment.
This article was written by Guest Contributor Nathan Sykes. He enjoys writing about the latest in technology and its effects on business. To read more check out his blog, Finding an Outlet.