With an 18 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2002, Xerox topped its 10 percent reduction target, preventing the emission of 87,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2006. Xerox says that its energy expenses last year would have been 21 percent higher had it not been for its conservation measures. With its original target now met, Xerox aims to reduce emissions by 25 percent by 2012 from the 2002 baseline year.
When it joined the EPA Climate Leaders program in 2003, Xerox found that its GHG emissions were nearly all associated with energy use – indirect emissions from purchased electricity and steam and direct emissions from combustion of fossil fuels like natural gas and from burning gasoline and diesel fuels from vehicles. Following that analysis, Xerox’s initiatives resulted in the company cutting emissions from its fleet operations by 24 percent, from electricity use by 13 percent, and from natural gas use by 27 percent.
Energy consumption during the period following 2003 declined by 21 percent, driven by a 12 percent reduction in electricity use, a 27 percent reduction in natural gas purchases, and a 30 percent reduction in gasoline and diesel fuel consumption.
Here are five moves the company made to hit its target:
#1 The company opened its first EA toner plant in the U.S. Unlike traditional toner, which is created by physically grinding composite polymeric materials to micron-sized particles, Xerox says EA toner is chemically grown enabling the size, shape and structure of the particles to be precisely controlled. This leads to less energy required for manufacturing.
“The plant is designed for energy efficiency, and is packed with more than 4,000 sensors that track information about temperature, humidity, air flow and other variables,” said Richard Schmachtenberg, vice president of the Consumables Development & Manufacturing Group. The plant is also organized into zones that can be separately controlled for the most efficient operation. Depending upon the process being run, whole zones can be shut off when not needed, saving energy costs.
As for its conventional toner plants that require grinding, Xerox says it has developed an additive that increases efficiency and reduces energy demand up to 22 percent per pound of toner.
#2 The 15,000 Xerox employees responsible for technical support at customers’ workplaces are using digital systems to remotely diagnose technical issues. That’s cut down on driving to the tune of 34 million fewer miles driven in 2006 than in 2002 – in the U.S. alone.
#3 The company is upgrading some infrastructure systems in manufacturing and office locations. It replaced aging boilers and industrial air conditioners in El Segundo, Calif., made lighting improvements in Cincinnati, consolidated boilers in Oklahoma City, and replaced gas heaters in Mitcheldean, U.K., to name just a few.
#4 Xerox is adjusting existing climate control equipment to capture energy savings. The temperature in all buildings is being controlled to eliminate waste in air conditioning and heating. Lighting systems have also been programmed to match work schedules.
#5 Of course, Xerox is quick to point out that its offices rely on networked Xerox systems for document management needs. One multifunction system uses half as much energy as several single-function devices, the company says. For a workgroup of 100 people, the company says one multifunction system can reduce energy costs by as much as $2,000 per year.