With our corporate offices located in California we have seen tremendous changes in building codes over our 20 years. As much as we might say we don’t like to continually conform to the new standards, the proof of the benefits is always in the data.
California, in 2005, boasted the lowest consumption per capita of any other state at 7,032 kWh, and that number looks to get much smaller. Their relentless pursuit to reduce electricity consumption with state and local building codes, among other things, has had an impact. By implementing small incremental changes all around, California has reduced electricity consumption for the past 10 years consecutively, while the population growth however has expanded by millions. You could say that they have been a “green” state for a number of years, and an influential beacon when it comes to energy conservation.
One of the biggest signs of influence is in the air-conditioning industry. For example: the amount of energy utilized to condition a space is only about 20% when compared to five years ago. Efficiency standards for air-conditioning units have come a long way in recent years. It is evident that pushing R-values in buildings, low E-glass, and insulation for every part of a home or commercial structure has led to the success in energy efficiency for the state of California.
On the other end of the scale, in 2005, Wyoming shouldered the largest use per capita at 27,787 kWh, and Tennessee, where our second plant is located, came in as sixth largest at 17,446 kWh. There are many reasons, I have noticed, why California has an edge over states like Tennessee and Wyoming. Among those, one that stands out for me, at least in Tennessee, is recycling.
Recycling in California has been a mainstay for over a decade. All refuge goes to a warehouse and it’s sorted prior to being delivered to a landfill. Wood products, plastics, metals and other items are separated and recycled. I can’t even tell you the last time I saw a landfill in California. It’s been a number of years.
In Tennessee, it actually costs money to recycle. There are no recycle bins at businesses or houses anywhere in sight. Implementing a green facility in Tennessee for ourselves has certainly been much more difficult than in California. It’s been a very slow process for the states like Tennessee; however I think the lessons from California have been heard across the country. It’s just a matter of time and I’m sure everyone else will be making their way to catching up. The responsibility to address energy conservation, however, is not only assigned to the state and local governments.
To truly make a huge difference it is up to all, like those of us in the commercial building industry, to take the initiative to provide cleaner, greener products; to find new, energy conserving, manufacturing processes and building methods; and to implement even the littlest of changes. Here at Allied Modular, along with offering green products and using cleaner building methods, we have implemented one such small change.
In our corporate headquarters we use motion sensors in every office to cut back on the use of electricity. Although sometimes the lights go out, leaving people to wave their arms about to turn them back on, they do help.
On a not-quite-so-small scale, in our plant, we installed photocell sensors that turn the lights off when the skylights provide enough ambient light for our manufacturing process. This is something we installed when we built the factory nearly 6 years ago. Our electricity rates are approximately half of what they used to be.
It is clear, that as individuals, businesses, and lawmakers, we have the ability to do more then just dream of a greener future. We have the ability to live that dream now. Sure, further advancements in technology will help us achieve an even cleaner future, but we should also make positive choices today so we can experience a brighter tomorrow.
At Allied Modular, we continue to look for ways to lower our energy consumption and cut our carbon footprint in both California and Tennessee.
For information on where your state ranks, you can find it at http://www.energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/us_per_capita_electricity_2005.html