Cardboard & plastic bag recycling: All our cardboard waste is either reused to ship orders or broken down and recycled with a local company. All plastic garment bags and shrink-wrap is reused in future shipments. Newspaper is reused as packing material, and packing peanuts and bubble wrap received from inbound shipments are saved and reused as well. We even have some employees pitching in their recycling from home!
Paper, plastic, tin & aluminum recycling: The company break room has Salvation Army bins for plastic/tin, glass and aluminum recycling. Every week, all bulk paper stock is also collected and recycled. In addition, special bins are available for employees to bring batteries and CFL light bulbs for proper disposal at local recycling centers.
Shredding: We use a shredding service that bales and recycles all our sensitive documents, ensuring that private information is disposed of safely, while helping to save the environment in the process. The bins used are made from 100% recycled wood particle board. The company's delivery fleet uses environmentally friendly hydraulic fluids in all wehicles. Since 2008, the shredding company saves over 9 millions trees annually! We've saved 12 trees so far this year! we don't have a ton of sensitive paper o shred so the majority is recycled by another company.
Office supplies: In addition to purchasing recycled products whenever possible, we also recycle our in-house supplies, such as file folders, paper clips and binder clips, clear page sleeves, binders, and index papges. Everyone keeps a recycled paper box under their desk, so waste baskets stay pretty empty. We recycle common waste paper by chopping it up and using it as company scratch paper. More sensitive documents are sent to a professional paper service to be shredded and recycled. Old catalogs and glossy papers are sent to the local recycling depot.
IT equipment recycling: Since 2004, Aventura Clothing has been working with a local company to properly recycle all over outdated computer monitors, keyboards, pc's, UPC power supplies, etc. No IT equipment is carelessly discarded. Prior to the event each year, employees are informed of the recycle date and are encouraged to add any personal equipment that they want to discard.
Data Center power saving strategy: After analyzing the combined energy costs for both powering the information technology equipment and the required cooling for the data center, two areas of savings were identified:
Server Virtualization: We purchased a foundation license for Vmware ESX Server. This software solution allows multiple separate servers to run on one physical (hardware) server. This made it possible for us to consolidate five exisiting hardware servers onto one server. Several of the retired servers were older hardware with low energy efficiencty and high heat output. The combined savings on energy cost and cooling made the return in investment for the VMware software in less than one year. When you add in the cost saved by not purchasing new hardware to replace the older servers, the justification for the VMware purcahse is obvious.
Air exchange cooling system: In November 2008, we installed an air exchange cooling system - an investment of over $5,800. Prior to installing the system, the room was cooled exclusively by split-type air conditioning system. The air conditioning system was running at near 100% capacity and thus never cycled off. At around 3000 Watts, the cost and energy consumption to run cooling 24/7 was significant.
With our high desert climate in Northern Nevada, the outside temperature is sufficiently cool to provide at least partial cooling nearly nine months of the year. To take advantage of this, we designed a system in house that would run air conditioning only when the outside temperature warms to where it doesn't provide enough cooling to hold the desired set temperature.
The system consists of a computerized controller, two roof-mounted commercial fans, and motorized air dampers. After looking at various off the shelf controllers, we decided to design the controller hardware and software in house. The controller has two temperature sensors, one in the data center, and one on the roof. Based on the difference between the roof temperature and set temperature for the data center (discovered to be 17 degrees F), the controller cycles on and off the fans or the air conditioning. The controller software also provides logging, remote monitoring, and email/cell phone alerts for over / under temperature conditions.
The fans are commercial roof mounted exhaust / supply fans similar to what would be used in a restaurant kitchen hood system. With a combined wattage of 300 Watts, they are about 10% of the cost to run air conditioning. The fans move about 1100 cubic feet per minute thru the room. The intake air is filtered to reduce the amount of dust and other particles entering the room. There are motorized dampers in the ducting to seal off the fans when the system is in air conditioning mode.
Let There Be Light
Lighting conversion plans: Future plans are in place to replace all overhead fixtures in the distribution center. At an initial investment of over $18,000, the reduction in energy required will return that investment in under 2 years. In addition, NV Energy's "Sure Bet" program will rebate 35% of the cost to Sportif in a single payment.
Keeping Our Cool
Cool savings: Cool Nevada nights come with hot Nevada summers. In 2005, when faced with a need to air-condition our 30,000 sq. foot distribution center, we elected to invest $50,000 to install and eventually computerize a similar air exchange system to our Data Center model. Using thermostatically controlled sensors, each night when the air temperature drops below a certain set point, 2 large electronic louvers open to the outside air and a large ceiling fan mounted at the highest point in the warehouse ceiling starts up. This large fan exchanges the superheated inside air with much cooler outside air. As soon as the outside air temperature begins to rise, the entire system automatically shuts the louvers. This system is so efficient that a single swamp cooler is capable of controlling the temperature of the entire distribution center. Without this solution, 2 large commercial air conditioners would have been required that would have consumed several times the amount of energy and cost to operate.