FUNDING GREEN AMBITIONSSolar panels, hybrid cars, energy-efficient windows… A Green Fund pays for projects that deliver increased energy efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions at Seco.
Seco’s Green Fund began more than six years ago, and has, among other things, resulted in the installation of solar panels that power factories in the UK and India. But this year it is stronger still, as Maria Blomqvist, Global Environmental, Health and Safety Manager, explains:
“This the first year that we have dedicated specific money to green investment, and in total we have set aside SEK 3.5 million.
“Before that we had the same budget for all projects where green investment was considered among several others. But now we have that money protected, departments won’t have to prioritise another project over a green one. And green investments often have a longer return on investment than other areas.”
However, there is a rigorous approval process. The Green Fund board needs to be satisfied it’s an initiative that promises energy savings or reduced carbon dioxide emissions — investment should be connected to the company’s environmental targets for the year.
“It’s also important that the investment is not connected to other legal demands, such as safety, water treatment — things we need to take care of anyway.”
Other Green Fund projects include last year’s replacement of windows at the Seco Reaming factory in La Tour-du-Pin, France, and the installation of a voltage optimizer at Seco’s Alcester factory in the UK.
Future plans include solar panel installations in South Korea, France (at two factories, including La Tour-du-Pin) and Sweden. The company is also adding four hybrid cars to its car pool, replacing diesel versions, and introducing charging stations for electric cars at several factories.
And Maria admits to further ambitions.
“In future I hope we can also give our customers green transportation options for receiving our products, such as by rail instead of air. ”
TRANSFORMING LA TOUR-DU-PIN
In 2017, Seco’s Green Fund paid for the replacement of windows in the company’s factory in La Tour-du-Pin, near the French city of Lyon. The project, which had the twin aims of energy efficiency and better working conditions, was led by Rémi Provera, the factory’s Quality, Health, Safety and Environment Manager, with the support of Reaming Center Manager Vincent Leroy.
How did the project start?
Thermal leaks have long been a key issue for us, so we brought in a consultant to help identify where the problem lay. The most energy-efficient and profitable solution was to refurbish the large window panels located on the factory’s northern side.
What did the project involve?
Expertise and analysis, selecting suppliers that met environmental standards, replacing double-glazed windows with insulated aluminum frame, and replacing old steel external doors with thermal materials and a new safety exit.
How has it benefited the factory?
The factory is more comfortable to work in, and colleagues also mentioned that there was better light in the shop. There is much less noise from the workshop so our neighbors are not disturbed.
At the moment, the expected cost saving is around 28 percent. We will measure the benefits after a year but it’s already a success if we look at the initial results.