In each year since 1976, with the exception of 2001, the Indiana furniture maker has been more successful than the year before. In recent years, however, the company has been plagued with escalating energy and waste costs. To address this issue, Smith Brothers partnered with Purdue’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) in early 2009 to examine how to cut costs. Smith Brothers implemented new guidelines. Some were small: a mandate that all lights and equipment should be shut off when not in use. Others were large: creation of a company-wide Sustainability Team. The result: Smith Brothers has managed to save an estimated $35,000 in the first year.
TAP’s Energy Efficiency & Sustainability unit played a lead role in providing training through its Green Enterprise Development (GreenED) program. Smith Brothers’ accomplishments in efficiently cutting energy and waste have been numerous and significant:
Full Success Story
- Reduced solid waste sent to a landfill by 40 percent by recycling products such as cotton, fiber, plastic and paper.
- Saved an estimated $15,000 per year in electricity costs by purchasing an ultrasonic air leak detector and implementing a compressed air leak detection and repair program.
- Created a “Green Team” tasked with implementing environmentally friendly projects such as installing photo/heat sensors to automatically turn off lights in restrooms and cafeterias, and establishing new energy management policies.
- Improved evaluation of manufacturing process efficiency by developing energy and waste intensity indices (cost of energy and waste per unit of production).
- Reduced heating and cooling costs by venting waste heat from production through the roof.