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Being Green: Kicking the Box vs. Kicking the Can

Posted by Deni Albrecht on Mar 28, 2014 12:12:00 PM

kenco green

When it comes to Sustainable Initiatives many businesses today end up talking the talk. The industry term for this is Greenwashing. To achieve firm Sustainability, action and results require out of the box thinking. Usually, when IN the box thinking occurs on this subject, the proverbial can gets kicked down the road. Consequently, we can either kick the sides of our box out or kick the can down the road for someone else later. When the can gets kicked down the road, the costs of the same initiative become more costly.

In 2012, a survey of Americans showed 66% of us have a preference to buy from companies that actually show evidence of sustainable behaviors. It’s illogical to expect prosperity for our business when we ignore that factoid.

At Kenco, we have embraced a renewed drive for innovation. What is innovation? I define it as opposite of doing things exactly the same without consideration for improvement for multiple years.

Innovation Initiatives from Kenco:

The costs of resources are on the rise, and they will continue to do so; especially in this time of global unrest. It is risky business to ignore the costs of inefficiency – using more electricity, water, fuel, disposal costs, than our competitors do for the same output. Enter Lean Six Sigma (LSS). The keen skill of this process of observation is key to identify inefficiencies. We need to strive to use only what we need for the required process

Lean Six Sigma Kenco

Kenco offers its own in-house training for LSS certifications in Green Belt and Black Belt levels. The training is meant to teach the required skill sets; providing the basis for a generic approach to identify and resolve “bottle necks” and wasteful and out of control work practices. Learning how to use LSS with the generic skills is great but, in regard to Sustainability, identifying wasted resources and out of control processes are not natural skills. The basic qualitative aspects of knowing something’s not right can be instinctive. The skill involved in accurately specifying an alternative, and then calculating estimated cost savings of energy efficiency gains from lighting, HVAC, solar panels, window film, alternative fuels, or even low flow flushing valve upgrades, is critical and can’t be faked.

Kenco management has cultivated our Leader of Sustainability to obtain professional certifications from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE):

  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
  • Certified Energy Auditor (CEA)

An interesting and fun project Kenco is working on now is our window filming project on our corporate offices in Chattanooga, TN. Our corporate offices have many south and westward facing windows, resulting in increased solar heat gain coming through the windows and UV/IR fading on interior fixtures. The US made 3M product (Night Vision) Kenco has chosen to film the windows will reduce solar heat by 66% and UV light by 99.9%. This new initiative should have less than a 5 year payback in energy alone! There is a 15 year warranty with the product and 3M adhesive and film combo is the best quality tested in our trials. By kicking the sides of our box out, we will have created energy savings and prove Kenco doesn’t Greenwash.

kenco green

The gap between actual results vs. the proposed results should approach the Six Sigma level now, shouldn’t they? Only time will tell…but last year’s Sustainability Program Value Creation wasn’t bad with $1.4MM in first year savings identified and proposed. You can either go and be green or just sit and watch your competitor do it and be green with envy.

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Deni Albrecht

Written by Deni Albrecht

Leader of Sustainability Engineering at Kenco