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United Technologies Grows Revenues, Expands Ops w/Sustainability Initiatives

United Technologies has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 34% and its water consumption by 60% since 1997. And its done all that as it has grown its revenues and expanded its operations, which consist of such businesses as Carrier, Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems.

How has it achieved this success? Through data management, corporate policies, cross divisional training, energy management and online project tracking, says Matt Pekar of United Technologies, at a conference sponsored by Environmental Leader. 

For example, it has 330 sites around the world from which it collects data. The company has an internal environmental reporting system for such things as greenhouse gases, chemical usage, fleet emissions and energy consumption. For the trip to Denver, Pekar said he is required to track his miles by plane and rental car, all of which goes into the calculation.  

“Sustainability is what we do and what it is we are working on,” says Pekar. “We will keep going.”

The goal has been to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3% a year. And it shares its methodologies and its results with investors in its annual report.

Why does it collect the data? So that it can share its best practices with other company sites. For example, a combined heat and power system it set up has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by  12,000 metric tons because it captures and recycles steam and uses it to cool down its facilities. 

One of the constraints has been that those in charge of budgets must be persuaded that investments produce returns in short order. But the company is committed to sustainability and to its goals and thus all ideas are valid. If a site benefits from investments in rooftop solar, for example, it will examine it closely.

“We ask for 3% reduction in greenhouse gases year-over-year,” says Pekar. To get it there, the company always ask, “have you implemented best management practices? Once completed, solar and wind would have to follow. UTC is also working on flow battery technologies. If that came to fruition, our view on solar would improve.” 

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