Going green is more than creating a product that’s made entirely from recycled materials, or improving a process so it’s not harmful to the environment. While these are steps in the green direction, embracing sustainable and green practices involves the entire production process and working environment.
At AMGRAPH, going green means continuing our earth-conscious policy that focuses on a full spectrum of green initiatives, including our products, operations, and workplace. Delivering sustainable flexible packaging encompasses every layer in the manufacturing process, from the energy consumed to the materials used. When expanding our facility in 2009, we implemented green strategies from start to finish.
Alternative Energy in Two New Fuel Cells
Utilizing alternative energy is an important step in environmentally friendly improvements. Energy that doesn’t harvest fossil fuels such as coal and oil helps conserve natural resources and reduces toxic greenhouse gases. AMGRAPH recently purchased two new fuel cells that generate 100% of our electricity, 65% of our domestic heat, and 65% of our process heat, making our facility close to self-sustaining.
The fuel cell process utilizes an electrochemical conversion that transforms natural gas fuel to hydrogen, and from hydrogen into DC power and then into high-quality AC power. The end result is a 90% efficiency compared to standard energy processes. Each year the two fuel cells will eliminate 1,316 metric tons of carbon dioxide and save 4,764,000 gallons of water—that’s the equivalent of 7.2 Olympic-sized pools.
Building A Green Plant
Our new green plant expansion was designed to be extremely energy efficient as well as durable, clean, and comfortable. Each element in the building construction was chosen for its unique green properties.
The Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) wall system construction reduces the energy required to heat and cool the plant by 71% versus conventional wall construction methods. A geothermal system powers the heating needs, and uses radiant floor heating as the most efficient and comfortable method available. The ventilation system uses a heat exchanger to reduce even further the building’s heating and cooling requirements. The expansion also features natural lighting, using Energy Star-rated windows.
Green Plant Processes and Procedures
To ensure a minimal impact on our environment, AMGRAPH implements green processes wherever possible. We use fewer natural resources, minimize waste, reduce energy and water consumption, decrease greenhouse gas and volatile organic compounds, and improve efficiency without compromising product integrity and quality.
In establishing green plant processes we work to:
- Replace motors and drives with Energy Star-rated products.
- Set up regional warehouses to reduce gasoline use and truck emissions, as well as costly shipments.
- Feed 70% of our clean waste to an energy producing facility.
- Recycle another 26.5% of our clean waste.
- Require new equipment purchases have environmental waste-efficient systems.
- Continue our over ten years of zero wastewater to ground discharge program.
- Significantly reduce energy consumption with our new printing press.
- Consider the smallest energy-savings measure, such as new packaging slitting machines that automatically hibernate when idle, and the automatic turn-off for office lights and hibernation for computers.
As AMGRAPH continues to go green, our goal is to help our customers attain their own sustainability goals and initiatives. By getting greener together, we are able to meet the demands of our customers today while keeping the Earth green