Sustainable Business Spotlight Blog: September
Devens is known for its commitment to innovation and sustainability, and our business community plays an important role in helping our community meet its sustainability goals. This month, we are highlighting Parker Hannifin as a model for a sustainable company in Devens.
Devens is a growing commercial hub that is home to over 100 businesses employing more than 6,000 workers. Embedding sustainable business practices into our community identity will bring positive benefits for our local economy as we continue to grow.
Neil Angus from Devens Enterprise Commission interviewed Shannon Lozeau, Facilities Manager from the Parker Hannifin Corporation Gas Turbine Fuel Systems Division, to learn more about their sustainable practices. The following is a summary of this interview. Shannon has over 28 years of experience in the environmental health and safety field. She is a Certified Industrial Hygienist, Safety Professional, Wastewater Treatment Licensed, and a Certified Toxic Use Reduction Planner (from TURI).
What is Parker Hannifin’s mission and what are some challenges they face?
In Devens, Parker manufactures pumps for commercial and government aircraft. They are a relatively small division of Parker with 96 employees and over half of that is on their manufacturing floor. Their main sources of energy are natural gas and electricity, and their main waste stream is oil (lubricant for pump testing) but they are a Small Quantity Generator.
Has Parker Hannifin set any climate goals?
Parker Hannifin has a commitment to achieve Carbon Neutral operations by 2040 by:
- Reducing absolute emissions directly from the company’s operations and indirect emissions from purchased energy sources by 50% by 2030;
- Reduce other indirect absolute emissions related to materials sourcing, logistics, and services by 15% by 2030, and 25% by 2040;
- Achieve carbon neutral operations by 2040.
- Parker Hannifin aims to achieve these goals through efficiencies, energy reduction and renewables.
What sustainability actions is Parker Hannifin currently taking?
Parker Hannifin held a 3-day corporate climate change bootcamp that energized the whole company. Parker Hannifin has a ‘Lean Team’ that looks at ways for Parker Hannifin to operate more efficiently and use less chemicals in their cleaning and operations process (to eliminate toxics and waste). They are currently creating a “High Performance Team” (HPT) to focus on climate and energy, which will help bring more attention to climate issues and their goals and get more people to participate. Shannon finds that the younger generation in the workforce is helping bring in broader culture of responsibility when it comes to energy efficiency, reuse, recycling.
Some sustainability initiatives they have completed and are considering include:
- Replaced all HVAC units to more efficient systems resulting in a 12% reduction in overall energy use.
- Raised bed planters on-site for employees to grow vegetables – employee health and wellness initiative.
- There are currently 101 ongoing climate energy reduction projects across divisions – everything from HVAC replacement, to lighting, window retrofits, chemical use reduction, and more.
- Looking at solar parking canopies for the co-benefits (on-site clean energy generation, reduced heat island, reduced snow removal from cars in winter and reduced overheating in summer).
- Exploring EV charging for employees.
- Looking into window treatments/retrofits that will reduce UV light, lower heating and cooling costs, and reduce bird strikes.
- Looking at expanding outdoor patio space for employees using porous pavers and rainwater harvesting for roof runoff.
What are some challenges Parker Hannifin faces when implementing sustainability initiatives?
Their biggest hurdle is technical assistance in navigating all the potential efficiency and renewable energy pathways. They have a small environmental footprint and are working to reduce that footprint even further but find that their size can be a limiting factor to implementation of some initiatives. The connection to Parker Hannifin’s broader network of groups and divisions, as well as their connections in Devens, can help.
What tools or best practices do they recommend other businesses use to be more sustainable?
- Use Energy Star’s Energy Treasure Hunt to engage and encourage employees to look for ways to improve efficiency.
- Use a dashboard to track energy use trends over time.
- Implement a company-wide project tracking list to track efficiency projects (type, status, cost, payback, etc.) so other divisions and locations can share ideas and strategies. Leverage the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center and the business-to-business connections it creates in Devens and the surrounding region.
What more can businesses in Devens do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase efficiencies?
Here are some additional steps you can take to make your business more energy efficient and climate-conscious:
- Explore available state and federal incentives for solar parking canopies.
- Explore incentives for Electric Vehicle charging stations.
- Look into strategic planting of shade trees on the southern side of the building to naturally block sun in summer and still allow for passive heat gain in winter, in addition to storm water, habitat, and air quality benefits.
- Navigate energy efficiency and renewable energy pathways by reaching out to OTA.
Check out the Devens Forward dashboard and Business Climate Action Toolkit for more ways to get involved and to stay tuned for future blog posts!