Innovation Drives Sustainability and a ClimateWise Platinum Rating
By JD Johnson• September 20, 2018
Innovation is in the air around here. Creative ideas combined with persistence has led to some novel programs that support our sustainability and recognition as a good corporate citizen.
One example of this is The City of Ft. Collins’ ClimateWise program, a voluntary program that AE has been involved with since 2001. In 2016, there were 101 ClimateWise Partners. What’s driving their commitment to helping Ft. Collins reach goals such as diverting 75 percent of waste to recycling by 2020? Here are a few factoids to consider:
- Commercial buildings and industrial processes consume 38 percent of the total energy used in Ft. Collins
- Commercial customers represent approximately 40 percent of the city’s annual water demand
- Transportation accounts for about 25 percent of the community’s greenhouse gas emissions
ClimateWise offers five primary badges and one specialty badge that can be earned by companies which demonstrate achievement in several of Fort Collins’ environmental goals. Each primary badge (Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation and Social Responsibility) embraces a mix of best management practices, actions, projects, innovative ideas, challenges and educational events. A business can earn an award level each year, based on the total points achieved across all the badges.
This year, AE reached Platinum certification – the highest award available. We got there by paying attention to big things like foam packaging and little things like light bulbs. Hundreds of pounds of waste foam packaging are now recycled into carpet padding. Three years ago, we swapped nearly 700 florescent lights with LED lights in one building, cutting the energy consumption over 70 percent. Recycling more waste and reducing energy consumption are areas of AE’s Environmental Management System that we implement in Ft. Collins as well as our production facilities in Shenzhen, China and Littlehampton, UK.
We’re also working to support social responsibility among employees. That means encouraging working from home when appropriate and providing bike racks, showers and lockers for bicycle commuters. It might be as simple as a “reduce and reuse” commitment to not using disposable cups, or as complex projects to convert cooling towers to chillers, reducing the water consumption caused by evaporation. We audited our landscape irrigation to better understand water use by that system, which is critical in Colorado as well as other areas of the county that experience drought.
We’re proud to have put together programs to reduce our environmental impact as a company. And we are always looking for ways to make a difference for the company, our customers and the community.