We’ve all heard the word ‘sustainability’. It’s been thrown around a lot in recent years for various industries, from manufacturing to agriculture. However, not many know how to make their businesses more sustainable and eco-friendly. One way to make your business more sustainable and environmentally friendly is through green engineering.
Green engineering includes machinery, methods and processes that produce minimal or no pollution, use less energy and poses no risk to human health. It has to achieve all these while not compromising on efficiency and productivity. Here’s how you can start incorporating green engineering in your business:
Optimize Energy Efficiency
As far as operational processes go, energy is always a necessity. Minimizing energy wastage is an important part of green engineering. This means studying your processes and identifying areas where energy is wasted or doesn’t achieve much. For example, if you have a machine that only provides 1% of the production process, but needs its own power socket to work, this isn’t energy efficient. Look for ways to incorporate this part of the process into a larger setup or larger machine.
Save on Energy
Another strategy is to start finding ways to use machines and systems that are energy saving. This may mean having to upgrade your systems with the latest innovations. Explore the market and you’ll see that there are many items out there with a high energy efficiency rating, from refrigeration setups to light bulbs. Go for brands that have been given a high ‘star rating’ for being energy efficient.
Using and Producing Non-Hazardous Materials
Part of going green is ensuring that you don’t utilize or produce anything that’s toxic to the environment. This means that you should look for alternative raw materials if you know that your current raw materials can produce lots of non-recyclable waste or toxic waste that can harm the environment.
Switching to materials that are environmentally friendly, can be recycled and pose no threats to animals and humans is the way to go. For example, businesses that have been focusing on the production of plastic shopping bags are now looking at ways to rebrand themselves and produce biodegradable bags as well as paper bags. They can stay relevant to the market, while doing their part for the environment.
The ability of your production process to minimize waste should be at the heart of green engineering. Usage of resources like clean water, sustainable energy and the like should be followed by a justifiable outcome. For example, if you use 1000 liters of water a day to clean a raw material, and that water isn’t too dirty, you can find ways to filter and reuse that water elsewhere in the process, such as in a boiler system.
Any waste products in your production process can actually be reintroduced into the system to help it function, or sold off to another industry. In Vietnam, rice processing factories have found a way to recycle rice husks. They have found that if rice husks are burned in a special type of furnace at high temperatures, they produce Silicon. Silicon is an important component for making electronics. This is how rice processing plants turn wastes into a money making side venture, with just some simple additions to their factories.
Streamlining and Integrating
The goal of good engineering being eco-friendly is to consolidate or combine as many processes into one continuous system. This minimizes the need for excessive amounts of machines. Look for ways that you can combine processes. It would be even better if these few processes can function under one power source.
For example, if your production process needs the raw material to be heated or cooled twice, try having only one heating or cooling machine and divert the products back to the same heating or cooling machine. That way, you will only need to maintain one heating or cooling system rather than two. This won’t just save energy; it will cut down your power bill too.
Making the Effort
Green engineering does require some innovation, creativity and effort. However, you’ll be able to minimize the negative effects your business has on the environment in the long run. You can be proud that you’ve managed to bring your operations into a newer, cleaner and healthier era too.