Jul

Imperial company gets huge savings from going ‘green’

2013-07-25 07:18
Nelis Fourie (right), business manager for IT & Facilities and Theo Muller, general manager of Special Projects at Imperial Cargo Solutions in front of the water treatment plant. Since March 2013, the water plant has provided a total of 286 144 litres of recycled water to the wash bay translating to a 64% water saving over the past four months.

As part of Imperial Logistics’ commitment to sustainability and greening the supply chain, group company Imperial Cargo Solutions embarked on a project called the “Carbon Footprint Reduction Initiative’ and is to date saving more than R800 000 a year on electricity.

Implemented in two phases, this undertaking started off with a focus on reducing the company’s electricity consumption through the retrofitting of lights. This was phase one, and was implemented in March 2012, reports Imperial Cargo Solutions managing director Steven Smith.

Old, inefficient lighting technology is being replaced with new technology and the company is also in the process of getting light (motion and occupancy) sensors fitted in all offices and warehouses, which, Smith says, will save an additional estimated 5 to 10% in kilowatt-hours of electricity. The energy efficiency project was implemented using the Eskom Demand Side Management rebate programme.

“The installation of energy saving lights has to date resulted in a 24% saving on electricity consumption year-on-year,’ says Smith. “The average electricity used per square metre reduced from 3.806 kWh in 2011 to 2.899 kWh in 2012.’

He notes that due to the increase in municipality rates and an increase in demand – due to an extended warehouse – it is difficult to calculate the exact savings in Rand value but says that it is estimated to be, on average, a saving of R67 000 per month. In total, this equates to a saving of approximately R800 000 over a 12 month period.

Phase two of Imperial Cargo Solutions’ Carbon Footprint Reduction Initiative kicked off in March this year, with the installation of a wash bay water treatment plant at the company’s Garfield Logistics Park facility.

This water recirculation plant consists of two five-kilolitre bioreactors (commonly known as a jojo container) and one five-kilolitre storage tank. It was designed to cater for the washing of 15 to 18 large vehicles a day. Two five-kilolitre rainwater harvesting tanks were also installed for top-up purposes. The bioreactors also feature an unusual water cleaning system.

“They are bacteria-powered,’ Smith says. “Inside the reactors, we have plastic bottles strategically hung on which natural occurring bacteria forms from aeration. As the water flows through, the bacteria it is cleaned – just like the bacteria against rocks in a natural stream would do. This innovation means that the water is recycled through this process without the use of any chemicals of additives,’ he stresses.

To date the water plant has provided a total of 286 144 litres of recycled water to the wash bay. “This translates to a 64% water saving over the last four months of operations at the wash bay plant,’ says Smith. “We forecast annual water savings of 85% by March 2014.’

For the 5th month since commissioning the water treatment plant, it has shown a 100% harvest of recycled water with no municipal water top-up necessary. The treated water also conforms to the World Standard for wash bay water.

Imperial Cargo Solutions has plans to expand its Carbon Footprint Reduction Initiative with additional recycling activities, including paper recycling.

“We are committed to ‘˜greening’ our business wherever possible. Sustainability is an economic imperative that is playing an increasingly crucial role in the long-term success and social and economic relevance of businesses,’ Smith concludes.

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