Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler presented 18 Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Awards recently at the Sustainability Conference in Columbus.
Ohio’s E3 Program recognizes businesses, nonprofits and government agencies for going above and beyond compliance with requirements while demonstrating environmental excellence. This is the first year awarding our fourth level of recognition, Platinum Level, which recognizes organizations that have expanded their environmental programs beyond their own facility to make a positive impact on the surrounding community.
The E3 program also provides Gold, Silver and Achievement levels of recognition. An organization can work through levels of recognition including Achievement at the base level; Silver Level recognizing outstanding accomplishments in environmental stewardship; and Gold Level recognizing comprehensive environmental stewardship programs. All levels require a commitment to meet or exceed environmental regulatory requirements.
PLATINUM LEVEL: Two organizations are being recognized at the Platinum Level.
1. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Powell) – The Columbus Zoological Park Association is a not-for-profit in Delaware County promoting the health and welfare of animals, practicing and advancing conservation efforts, and educating the public about wildlife. The Columbus Zoo is the top ranked non-manufacturing facility in the 2017 review process. The Zoo has a sustainability policy, adopted in 2008, that includes goals for carbon neutrality, zero waste, reducing energy and water use, and increasing recycling rates. The Zoo uses educational signage to share information about its environmental stewardship projects. The Zoo updated the Holiday Wildlights Wonderland display and other lights to more energy-efficient LEDs; increased efficiency in its water system to 98.5 percent at full capacity; installed Ohio-manufactured Ciralight skylighting that tracks the sun’s position and directs the light inside its warehouse, saving the Zoo $11,000 annually with a 2-year pay back and a closed loop geothermal water recycling system. The 4-Star green-rated, LEED Certified, Mapori restaurant composts pre- and post-consumer food wastes and recycles 95 percent of its construction waste. The Zoo composts pre-consumer food scrap and diverts 65 percent of its waste. The Zoo estimates the average pay back for the sustainability projects is 2.2 years with annual savings of $120,000 per year.
2. Washing Systems (Loveland) – Washing Systems provides environmentally sustainable products and services to the North American and European laundry processing industry. Washing Systems is the top ranked manufacturing facility for the 2017 E3 Platinum award. Product formulas are developed that reduce or eliminate chemicals of concern and reduce energy and water use, such as Clear Path, which is phosphate-free and produces accelerated cleaning results with less energy and water. This process has been implemented at dozens of commercial laundry plants across the U.S., with a goal to have more than 100 customers convert to this technology. Benefits include saving $30,000 per year per customer by reducing operating hours, water use (19 percent) and gas use (17 percent) while increasing cleaning capacity. Washing Systems’ Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE) free detergents have prevented 21.6 million pounds of phosphate from being discharged to the environment. NPEs are known to be harmful to aquatic life and phosphates contribute to harmful algal blooms (HAB) in waterways. The company removed phosphate from a laundry building agent amounting to a 1.5 million pounds annual reduction. Washing Systems made the ultimate elimination of phosphate from all its products one of its environmental stewardship initiatives, joined the Water Quality Association to learn more about community concerns and strategically aligned its initiatives to reflect them. It carries U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice label on five of its products.
GOLD LEVEL: Nine candidates are being awarded the 2017 E3 Gold Level recognition:
1. Cleveland Clinic – The Main Campus is a nonprofit academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital healthcare service with research and education. Green team projects include a local farmer’s market, removal of personal trash cans, employee energy pledges and an employee suggestion program. The Clinic has replaced mercury-containing devices with alternatives and increased the use of operating room reusable devices to replace single use devices. New construction projects meet LEED standards. Energy efficiency improvements include re-lamping with more efficient fluorescent or LED lights and updating HVAC systems. Innovative storm water management at main campus includes a green roof, permeable pavers and native plants.
2. Crown Minster – The company is a certified manufacturer and assembler of wire harnesses and assemblies used to manufacture material handling equipment for Crown lift trucks. The company uses cross-functional teams and continuous improvement in its operating practices. The Crown Challenge recognizes employees for continuous improvement suggestions and goal achievement. From 2009 to 2017, employee ideas have saved $240,000. The company has long-standing practices to share information on environmental stewardship efforts on web pages, web tours and in-facility signage. Efficiency improvements include light upgrades, light sensors and hand dryers. Crown Minster has been a zero-waste facility since 2015. Reduction and reuse of returnable shipping containers save more than $6,000 annually. A robust recycling program saves the facility $7,400 annually.
3. GM Toledo – The Toledo transmission operation plant manufactures and assembles GM’s six-speed and eight-speed rear-wheel-drive and six-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions. GM Toledo has continued to make progress in many areas. In one year, energy was reduced 8 percent, water was reduced by 3 percent, and waste was reduced 3 percent (all percentages are per unit of production). The site continues to be landfill free, per GM’s internal criteria, and has achieved a recycling rate of 90 percent for all waste generated in 2015.
4. Ford Cleveland Engine Plant 1 (Cleveland) – Known as CEP1, the facility produces internal combustion engines for assembling motor vehicles. Operations at the facility include metal machining and assembly areas. Recycling and sustainable packaging play a large factor in waste reduction. The re-use of returnable production part racks is a significant waste reduction. In one work area, 95 percent of the production part racks are returnable. Ford’s ultimate plan is for all facilities to become zero waste. This facility reduced waste to landfill per unit of production from more than 9 pounds to less than 0.5 pounds in four years. The amount of process water being discharged was reduced by 3 million from 2014 to 2016. Wastewater treatment operations are optimized by using a tracking system and installing ultra-filtration. A new water saving unit for the cooling tower was installed at the end of 2016, saving 2 million gallons, or 11 percent of the unit’s usage. The plant’s energy use has decreased by 163 kilowatt hours per unit mainly due to controlling ventilation and light systems and upgrading to LED lighting.
5. Frito-Lay (Wooster) – The Wooster Frito-Lay facility makes salty snack foods. Its environmental stewardship activities have been continued and expanded. It has further reduced electricity by 11 percent, natural gas by 9 percent and water by 35 percent. Some of the company’s innovative projects and technologies include: installing energy efficient lighting; installing new Energy Star roofing material that exhibits solar reflectance and quick charge systems for forklift batteries; replacing motors and gear boxes with high efficiency units; and installing pressure regulators to reduce water use and water recycling in certain processing areas. During 2008-2015, the facility met the internal definition of zero-waste landfill, sending less than 1 percent waste for landfilling.
6. Honda Anna Engine Plant (AEP) – The facility annually produces more than 1 million Honda engines and high-precision pulleys for Honda auto plants throughout North America. Honda AEP maintains a third-party certified environmental management system; continues the Honda of America-wide zero landfill waste status, sending more than 99 percent of manufacturing waste to recycling and waste-to-energy facilities. The manufacturer eliminated the need for refrigerated semi-trailers used to prevent rusting of parts while in transit to Alabama and Canada after better packaging allowed transport without refrigeration, which saved more than 38,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year. The Aluminum Die Casting Department changed to a better insulation material for the holding areas of molten aluminum, producing a 26 percent reduction in electricity use at a cost savings of $140,000 over the expected life of new insulation.
7. Honda East Liberty Plant (ELP) – The facility produced the Acura RDX, and is home to the U.S. Honda CR-V. Honda ELP’s environmental stewardship activities include receiving a 10th consecutive U.S. EPA Energy Star award; maintaining a third-party environmental management system; and continuing zero landfill waste status, sending more than 98 percent of manufactured waste material to recycling and waste-to-energy facilities. Honda ELP replaced two old chillers with newer, more efficient units instead of rebuilding, saving $15,000 in electricity and 160 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
8. Honda Marysville Auto Plant (MAP) – The assembly plant produces the Honda Accord Sedan & Coupe along with the Acura TLX and ILX for customers in more than 100 countries around the world. Examples of the facility’s continuing environmental stewardship activities include receiving the U.S. EPA Energy Star award for the 10th consecutive year; maintaining a third-party certified environmental management system; continuing zero-landfill waste status; and sending 99 percent (116 million pounds) of manufactured waste to recycling and waste-to-energy facilities in 2016. A hydrogen fueling station allows Honda MAP to power tow motors and forklifts using hydrogen fuel cells. Propane-powered motors were replaced with hydrogen for 54 vehicles. By reducing propane-powered motor emissions, Honda MAP lowered the need for outside air circulated into buildings to maintain air quality and saved energy.
9. Ohio University (Athens) – Ohio University is a large, public research university with a main campus serving 23,000 students. OU’s Office of Sustainability coordinates efforts to meet its sustainability and climate action plans and coordinates several programs including Sustainable Ohio University Leaders (SOUL). OU has committed to being carbon neutral by 2075. It uses green procurement, green cleaning standards and LEED standards for new construction. In the first six months of 2016, the University reduced water use by 30 percent compared to the previous year. OU’s Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiative (EPEI) reduced energy usage by 23 percent (531,064 KWHs reduction annually) resulting in $385,000 savings from steam shut down, chiller replacements and repairs, hot water repairs and gas line upgrades. OU has banned the use of potable water for irrigation. It composted more than 600 tons of organics in the largest in-vessel system of any university in the U.S. It also has a 65 percent recycling rate.
SILVER LEVEL: Seven candidates receive the 2017 E3 Silver Level recognition:
1. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems (Elyria) – develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, air brake charging, and control systems and components for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors and other commercial vehicles. The company has increased the life of braking components, and salvages as much as 80 percent of the original product material to be reassembled with other components to meet specifications. Bendix partners with a local nursery and compost facility to recycle 200 pounds of cafeteria food waste per week. The company diverts 60 percent of office waste each day, composts 100 pounds of office organic waste each month and diverts 84 percent of recyclable materials from the landfill and 100 percent of contaminated sediment from wet-well cleanouts (its largest waste stream). Bendix has integrated measures to reduce energy use and conserve resources, saving $22,000.
2. Kent State University –The University’s Office of Sustainability manages and plans sustainability efforts with the strategic goal of meeting present needs without compromising future generations. University energy efficiency retrofits include energy controls, electronic metering and lighting and HVAC improvements, resulting in $1.8 million savings. Kent States’ Field House solar panels generate 500,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year. Storm water management includes green roofs, constructed wetlands, permeable pavers, conservation easements, retention/detention ponds, rain gardens, and vernal and ephemeral pools. KSU is recognized for its focus on environmentally friendly transportation with a free bus system and Flashfleet bike sharing system. The KSU Airport was one of 20 airports nationwide selected by the FAA for funding sustainability projects. New building construction must meet LEED standards and realize an average of 40 percent water savings and 40 percent energy savings. Kent’s landfill diversion rate has increased to 36 percent in 2016 in four years.
3. Kenworth (Chillicothe) – The facility manufactures heavy and medium duty trucks, and participated in an American Electric Power Ohio program that saved 5 million kilowatt hours over a two-year period. A project to reduce or eliminate constituents in the wastewater treatment sludge allows it to be used for strip-mine restoration or composting applications. Rain and snow collection is used to suppress dust on graveled roads and parking areas and is available for the facility’s fire suppression system. Kenworth is using filter-flushed effluent water from the water treatment system to supply its cooling tower and paint pit water supply systems. Kenworth Chillicothe is a zero-waste facility that reuses spent plastic drums and wood pallets. Empty drums are cleaned and used to collect waste materials such as corrosives that can only be held in containers that meet corrosive material standards. A dedicated distillation and storage process is designed to recover 70 percent of spent solvent for reuse.
4. Nestlé (Dublin) –The facility is the lead quality assurance center for all Nestlé business in the U.S. Nestle invested in numerous new equipment technologies and increased waste reduction, including $1 million to install two autoclaves. This system decreased the amount of infectious waste disposed from 405 tons to zero in two years. Energy efficient equipment is installed during all additions and renovations as it works towards reducing energy use by 35 percent by 2020. Nestle has reduced site energy by 4.5 percent. The facility is implementing energy efficient LEDs and motion sensor lighting. A renovation included 234 LED bulbs and fixtures.
5. Oberlin College –This private liberal arts college has an environmental policy statement established in 2004 to be a responsible steward of the environment. The College helps students develop an enduring commitment to build a sustainable future. The College buys 60 percent of electricity from renewable sources and generates 12 percent from solar panels with more than 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity generated, saving $100,000 per year. Geothermal accounts for 3 percent. Oberlin is a pioneer in green building and requires new buildings to meet LEED standards. Storm water management includes green roofs, porous sidewalks, bioswales, wildflower meadows, rain gardens, wetlands and a cistern. Oberlin has a robust program that recycles about 50 tons of material, composts 45 tons and reuses, donates or re-sells another 15 tons. Projects implemented at Oberlin include a green office program, Ecolympics, the Oberlin Project, the Real Food Challenge, Campus Dining Services Students, Student educators, an annual zero-waste community and culture fest and the Green EDGE Fund offering loans repaid with the savings of implemented energy efficiency improvements.
6. The Ohio Department of Transportation The state government agency nominated the George V. Voinovich Bridge eastbound structure for the E3 Silver Level Award. The bridge team used INVEST (Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool), a voluntary rating system created by the Federal Highway Administration that evaluates and helps integrate sustainability into programs and projects. The INVEST tool helped the design team keep track of waste reduction, recycled material used, energy efficiency, environmental commitments and many more sustainability principles. Significant efforts to educate others on the project’s sustainability efforts included social media, website, several YouTube Channel videos and project tours. The cement used was certified to meet standards which require less energy to produce and the LED highway and pedestrian level lighting is 57 percent more efficient than the older technology. The final project was completed ahead of schedule, saving 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 22 million gallons of water, recycling 5.6 million pounds of steel and preventing 125,000 cubic yards of waste from entering landfills.
7. Tigerpoly Manufacturing (Grove City) – The facility strives to continually improve environmental management systems to minimize the creation of waste and pollution and reduce molding scrap. Trash sent to the landfill (only 2.25 percent) is below the facility’s internal target goal. In 2015 and 2016, the company saved more than 5 percent of electricity compared to the 2011 baseline. In 2015, Tigerpoly reduced plastic use by 9 million pounds. The company’s recycling efforts diverted more than 750,000 pounds from the landfill each year. Tigerpoly recycles spent aerosol cans, plastic bags, oil soaked rags, absorbents, used oil, cardboard, paper, steel, aluminum used tooling and scrap, soda bottles from the cafeteria, unrepairable wood pallets and certain plastics that cannot be re-used. In 2016, four of Tigerpoly’s regrinding and repelletizing plastic part projects yielded more than $325,000 in raw material savings.
For more information about Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence program and the recognition levels, visit www.epa.ohio.gov/ohioE3.aspx. Achievement Level applications are accepted at any time. The deadline to apply for a 2018 Silver, Gold or Platinum Level award is Nov. 17, 2017.
For more information, visit www.epa.ohio.gov