Together with the team at Kingspan, we’ve embarked on a Planet Passionate strategy that aims to improve our impact on three big global issues: climate change, circularity and protection of our natural world. Because while Vicwest has always been passionate about building durable and sustainable products, we’re equally passionate about producing them in the most environmentally responsible way.
In 2020, we achieved our goal of being Net-Zero in how we manufacture our products. Our next milestone is to be net positive within the next five years through innovations that enhance our ability to procure green energy directly. Here’s how:
We reduced our power usage by improving our Power Factor, which is the ratio of working power measured in kilowatts at all our facilities. At all of our plants, we’ve improved our Power Factor from 0.87 to 0.93 through capacitor banks and modulators. This resulted in savings of $130,000 per year.
The energy we use is now 100% renewable. As we don’t yet have fully renewable energy on-site at out manufacturing facilities we purchase offset credits through Bullfrog Power and American Wind.
We radically reduced our electricity usage through switching from mercury-laden fluorescents to LED lighting. Motion sensors and skylights have also optimized daylighting opportunities so we’re reducing our reliance on lighting more generally.
Our propane forklifts are being replaced with battery-operated forklifts when they reach end-of-life. To date, 35 out of our 65 forklifts are now electric.
Installing 208kWp Solar PV power is phase one of our Planet Passionate solar initiative and will mean that half of our facilities are powered by solar. At our Stratford location, 28% of our power will be generated onsite through solar. As roof replacements are completed over the next three years, our Solar PV system will expand to 510kWp, so 80% of our power generated will be onsite.
Transforming our fleet of vehicles to electic (EV) is another strategy for reducing waste. In 2021, we converted 20% of our fleet, and by 2022, we converted an additional 30%. We’ve installed EV Box charging stations at our Stratford facility to support this conversion.
“It is encouraging to know that we are eliminating our impact on the resources and the environment we take for granted, and building for tomorrow by supporting and promoting Planet Passionate.”
Bernard Lewis, Vice President of Operations
Although our steel products are designed to last generations, we strive to make steel greener through circular production. In 2019, the production of steel products required 180 tonnes of waste to landfill. In 2021, we reduced that to only 20 tonnes. Moving forward, our Waste Solutions group has set a goal to achieve 100% recycled waste.
Part of our circularity program includes harvesting rainwater for use in our facilities. This is already underway at our Stratford facility, where we’re actively collecting . Site plans for rainwater harvest at our Edmonton and Victoriaville plants are underway.