All was dark on Volvo Construction Equipment’s Shippensburg, Penn., facility on Saturday evening, when the leading construction equipment company turned off all non-essential lighting in support of Earth Hour from 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
“We participated in Earth Hour because we have a stake in many communities around the planet and take environmental care very seriously,” said Matthew Kuzemchak, safety manager, Volvo CE North America. “If we can demonstrate leadership in this core value and help our employees, suppliers, customers and communities understand its importance, we can make important strides to conserving our natural resources and bettering our planet.”
To engage people on a broad range of environmental issues, a local chapter of World Wildlife Fund in Sydney, Australia, started Earth Hour in 2007. The movement has grown from reaching some 2.2 million people to an estimated 1.8 billion people in 2012. Earth Hour is one of the world’s largest voluntary actions for the environment.
Lights out in Shippensburg
Turning the lights off at the Shippensburg facility is just a part of Volvo Group’s worldwide effort that started at Volvo’s Asian facilities and made its way across all time zones through the day. All exterior and interior lighting, except for emergency and security, along with all non-essential equipment, was turned off.
“Over the past several years the event has helped us to examine our normal processes during off-hours and make significant energy savings that extend to every day,” Kuzemchak said.
By taking actions to reduce idling energy the company has lowered energy used during non-production times to within 20% of the minimum possible usage benchmarked through Earth Hour.
If all electricity was shut off at the plant for an hour during an average work day, it would save about 1.2 Mwh of electricity consumption, or about 1100 pounds of CO2 emissions, according to Bert Hill, manager, Health Safety & Environment for Volvo Group North America.
Apart from shutting lights off, the Shippensburg facility also hosted an Environmental Week leading up to Earth Hour. The event shared information on how people could help reduce harmful impacts and raise beneficial impacts on the environment in their everyday lives at work and at home.
“We have a focus not just on energy consumption, but also on waste reduction and resource conservation,” Kuzemchak said.
Power to the people
Each year the Earth Hour movement raises awareness of the collective influence we all have to reduce our impact on this planet. In 2013, more than 7,000 cities and towns in some 150 countries participated in the initiative, and iconic landmarks stood only in moonlight for one hour.
The Volvo Group is a proud member of World Wildlife Fund and as a member of its Climate Savers program, has committed to reducing CO2 emissions from production plants by 12 percent by 2014 from 2008 levels, and improve trucks’ fuel efficiency to reduce total lifetime CO2 emissions from trucks sold between 2009 and 2014 by 13 million tons compared to 2008 models.
Photo caption: Bright lights at Volvo Construction Equipment’s North American headquarters before Earth Hour on March 29, 2014.