Specialty Group Achieves Major Reduction in Carbon Footprint

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Following a detailed internal review in preparation for ISO 14001:2004 certification, a number of initiatives were undertaken which dramatically reduced the amount of manufacturing production waste going to landfill and the amount of electricity consumed within the Specialty Group businesses.

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“The savings in landfill and electricity consumption will help our bottom line, but more importantly it has forced all of us to think more about the resources we use" said Oz Dakartis, Factory Manager

Specialty Group identified that approximately 65% of the existing waste stream could be recycled in order to reduce the amount sent to landfill. A number of service providers were engaged to assist with this. The final arrangements will be in place in early 2013, by which time nearly all cardboard, clear plastic film, textiles and polystyrene will be recycled. This will mean that the business can reduce the frequency of ‘skip’ collections for solid waste disposal from weekly, to every third week.

In addition, all batteries used at Specialty Group are collected and disposed of responsibly.

Electricity consumption has also been a particular priority for the review. Specialty Group is now well advanced on its goal of cutting electricity consumption by 50% from the ‘business as usual’ level. Specific actions for reducing electricity consumption include:

-replacing all the high bay HID lighting in the factory with energy efficient high bay LEDs
-repositioning the high bay lighting to make better use of the lights, such that the overall number of lights can be reduced
-changes to the IT infrastructure to make better use of cloud based applications and do away with old computer hardware
-adjustments to the thermometer on the electric hot water service

Specialty Group also installed a 5kW solar PV system on the roof of the Williamstown, Victoria factory. This is expected to generate approximately 20kW hours of electricity per day. Most of this electricity will be consumed on site, as the production of electricity from solar matches the time of industrial consumption. A small proportion will be sold back into the grid.

Specialty Group is currently reviewing the replacement of all the T5 and T8 fluorescent tubes with more energy efficient LED globes.

Oz Dakartis, Factory Manager at Specialty Group praised the review and its outcomes. “The savings in landfill and electricity consumption will help our bottom line, but more importantly it has forced all of us to think more about the resources we use. As a result the factory is neater, cleaner and is a better place to work”.

Office Manager Shirlee Bennett has also seen the benefits on the monthly bills. “Waste disposal and electricity consumption both cost a lot of money. We have been able to make some really positive changes to both of these as well as reducing our carbon footprint”, she commented.

As a way to further reduce the carbon footprint of our employees, Specialty Group has started a scheme whereby staff who use ‘active’ transport to get to and from work, will qualify for a small daily cash benefit. Active transport includes walking, cycling and using public transport. This initiative is in its infancy but has been well received. A number of employees are working out how they can take advantage of this.

About Specialty Group Pty Limited: Since 1969, Specialty Group has been providing theatre, stage and cinema equipment and services to the performing arts and cinema exhibition industries in Australia, New Zealand and 28 countries around the world. Specialty Group operates under the Specialty Theatre and Specialty Cinema brand names.

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Shirlee Bennett
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