With eco-friendly and green living trends finding their way into more consumer items than ever before, it was only a natural progression that brought this movement into modern building techniques and manufacturing methods. President Barack Obama established a dedicated green hub, known as the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, to head up eco-friendly manufacturing and green construction throughout the West Coast.
The United States isn’t the only country to embrace eco-friendly construction and green manufacturing. Both China and Brazil announced their respective plans to support renewable energy. Moreover, the United Nations will hold a climate change conference in December of this year.
Obtaining LEED Certification
For manufacturers who want to embrace green technology, LEED certification is a great place to start. Organized and maintained by the U.S. Green Building Council, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design provides a benchmark for green construction in the 21st century. By achieving LEED certification with your warehouse, manufacturing plant or corporate headquarters, you’ll effectively bolster your business’s sustainability while saving money on operational costs.
Eliminating Manufacturing Waste
Even the cleanest and most environmentally friendly of manufacturing plants is bound to produce a little bit of waste. Although manufacturers cannot entirely eliminate this waste, there are a number of things we can do to reduce the overall amount of excess and lessen its impact on the environment.
Inefficiencies in shipping, packaging, and transportation tend to account for the majority of manufacturing waste in the 21st century. Reducing the amount of packing tape used on each box, for example, can go a long way in lowering your overall cost of shipping supplies.
Likewise, replacing your warehouse’s old, fragile wood pallets with brand new, plastic pallets can also save money. Not only are they made from recyclable material, but they also typically have a lifespan that is ten years longer than their wooden counterparts. Moreover, plastic pallets are far more durable and less likely to deteriorate after prolonged or repeated use.
Lean and 5S Manufacturing Principles
After you’ve obtained LEED certification on your manufacturing plant or warehouse, consider the principles of lean manufacturing or production. This set of standards is meant strictly to reduce manufacturing waste while maintaining or increasing value and profitability; it’s a program that has helped many brands and businesses streamline their operations and bolster their eco-friendliness.
Likewise, 5S is another program designed to reduce manufacturing waste and drive sustainable operations. It consists of five distinct steps – Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain – these best practices can be adopted by nearly any manufacturer in operation today.
Joining the Fight Against Climate Change
There’s simply no denying the impact that climate change has had on our planet over the course of the past few decades. We witnessed glacial melt, trees blooming out of season, and even a global increase in the overall temperature by 1 degree Fahrenheit. However, thanks to the latest in green construction techniques, and the growing popularity of eco-friendly manufacturing, joining the fight against climate change is easier than ever before.
How does your business incorporate green practices? Are you LEED certified? Do you follow lean manufacturing principles? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author:
Megan Nichols is the editor of Schooled by Science. She enjoys writing about the latest innovations in technology and science.