Since 2005 Recto has initiated a practical “green” culture. Not to be confused with the current push for green at any cost, our perspective is that green can have many tints, and the one that seems the most practical is one that is simple and has appropriate payback. Not to say that we might take on a project that looks good as well as filling a need. Trees for example. The City of Cincinnati Parks Department has planted trees around our building for appearance, while the shade keeps cars cool under the shade. This cooled air also makes it into the building. We have obsoleted old molding machines for many reasons, but oil and electric consumption were the primary reasons. Along for the ride came lower maintenance, better performance and a cooler building. We got rid of air cooled chillers (160 tons), and went with water cooled chillers after replacing our old, leaky cooling tower(with twice the capacity). With the new cooling tower came a water cooled chiller, and heat pumps to cool and heat high population areas of the building. As the old leaky roof was replaced, white TPO was chosen to cool the building, increase usable life, and ease of repair. When we traded an old molding machine for a 2500 gallon water tank for rain water, we found free water, and also a cleaner cooling tower. There are fewer chemicals used to keep the buffering chemicals in suspension. We added 10,000 more gallons this year. When an addition was added, four 1” PEX tubing lines were added to the perimeter of the foundation. We use our 90 degree plant cooling water to keep the addition warmer in the winter, and reduce usage the of the cooling tower.
We use smaller compressors, located strategically located to add heat in the winter, and are located where the heat can be sent outside quickly in summer. Smaller compressors means lower startup demand and lower operating costs when variable air usage conditions exist. When air operated devices are not heavily used, only 20 horse power is running. When a lot of air is being used, 60 HP motors are used.
Like most molders that work a 5 day, 24 hour schedule, our peek electric demand soars on Monday morning startups. We have a device that monitors our energy consumption with a set of traffic lights. Red lights indicates employees to start a smaller press instead. This device also monitors power factor, showing when someone has failed to switch on a capacitor bank. Our peek demands still were a factor from 10am until 4pm as every startup and sample has begun. We added 196 solar panels to absorb that peek demand, 44kw of electricity that only provides $4,000 worth of electricity but helps cut our peek demand charges by about $7,000 per year. The solar installation was finished late 2009, and because of all the incentives (that are no longer available), paid for itself in 2 years.
In 2003 Recto had 45 molding machines. Today we have 27, all but two either servo electric, or servo pump. Servo technology hasn’t completely licked the problems with long pack times, so we keep two servo valve machines in good condition to solve that problem.
In 2003 Recto reversed it’s air quality fans so that instead of inside air being extracted in the molding area, outside air was brought into the warm molding area in the winter. Extraction fans at the opposite side of the building draws the warm air to all other parts of the building with “helper” fans in some walls to further mix the air. In the summer the fans all extract air from the building with make up air coming from the tree shaded zone around the building. Our inside air temperature is cooler than outside in the heat of the summer. This saved considerably on our heating bill.
During this 20 year span Recto has reduced it’s electric usage in half, and it’s gas usage by 90%. That’s really green no matter how you measure it. Our building roof reflects sunlight, or trees add cooling and look good, and we collect stormwater to reduce the load slightly, at the city water treatment plant. Our employees benefit with better working conditions.