Garlock of Canada’s 70,000 square foot plant in Sherbrooke, Quebec specializes in the production of technical textiles and sealing products to keep industrial equipment from leaking environmentally harmful emissions. The company recently won awards for environmental excellence in energy-efficiency and recycling from its parent company, EnPro Industries.
“We’re committed to continuously improving our environmental stewardship,” explains EnPro President Steve Macadam. Each year Macadam recognizes EnPro divisions, business units, teams or individuals who make significant contributions to improved environmental performance.
Last year Garlock’s Sherbrooke plant received the EnPro President’s Award of Excellence for Environmental Stewardship for its installation of a solar heating wall that slashed natural gas consumption by more than 20,000 cubic yards per year. In addition to the economic benefits (the project has already more than paid for itself), the wall helps reduce air emissions and improved ventilation of the plant’s interior.
A wall-mounted collector preheats outside air that’s drawn into the building. Connected to the building’s ventilation system, the solar wall takes in cold air through an opening under the cladding and warms it within an internal air plenum. This project is perfectly adapted to cold climates and is transferable to other facilities in northern regions.
Additional energy savings were realized by installing sensors that automatically dim lighting in unoccupied areas of the facility; this reduced lighting expenses by 85 per cent.
In 2010 the Sherbrooke plant also won an award for environmental excellence from the Eastern Townships in the Foundation (ESRF) and the Regional Environmental Council of Estrie (CREE). The award related to a recycling project the company launched in 2007 under the aegis of Societe Recyc-Quebec, which awarded the company its “ICI ON RECYCLE” (“here we recycle”) certification in 2008. Four years ago, the plant recycled just 10 per cent of its paper, paper board and other materials. Today, more than 90 per cent of these materials are recycled.
The project proceeded incrementally as the company recognized that waste reduction had to begin at the source. Fibre recycling was expanded to putrescible organics and other materials. Concurrently, Garlock requested all vendors to eliminate styrofoam and plastic film from their packaging.
In 2011 Garlock of Canada we launched its “Défi climat” (climate challenge) campaign, and a number of projects suggested by staff are underway. The company is reserving parking spaces for “green” cars and conducting an auction of unwanted items from employees’ homes, the proceeds of which are being donated to a not-for-profit environmental organization.
Planned initiatives include retrofitting the plant with energy-efficient LED lighting and use of a geothermal well to cool the production furnace. Also on the agenda is the reduction of transportation costs (a challenge given that deliveries are smaller and more frequent due to just-in-time production scheduling).
To keep everyone engaged the company asked each Sherbrooke employee to complete a survey indicating personal environmental protection objectives. The company is cultivating “environmental champions” in every aspect of operations to improve environmental performance. This collective mindset and related actions assures a safer, healthy workplace, raises the company’s position as a good corporate citizen, and improves economic performance as well as environmental sustainability.
Pierre Barnabé is Plant Manager for Garlock of Canada in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Contact Pierre at firstname.lastname@example.org