Crown Equipment Corporation's efforts to reduce waste in its forklift manufacturing operations have earned the company the Ohio Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Stewardship. During a ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse, Governor Ted Strickland and representatives from Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Crown's commitment to minimizing waste, managing energy consumption and maximizing lifespan.
"These companies are leaders in protecting Ohio's natural resources while implementing innovative approaches that reduce the cost of doing business, improve company efficiency, and enhance the quality of life and the environment in their communities," said Strickland.
Crown is one of nine winners selected from 35 corporations, nonprofit organizations and state government agencies. Applicants were judged on several criteria, including a sound track record of establishing and accomplishing environmentally minded goals.
"Crown has been green since before that term was even coined," said Crown Environment and Safety Manager Brian Duffy. "We've been exploring and implementing green practices for decades because there's sound business logic in sustainability. It's good for the environment, for our business and for our customers. It just makes sense."
One example of this business logic, and one of several factors that led to Crown's receipt of the Governor's Award, is the company's installation of a powder-coat paint system. Traditional liquid paints contain a solvent that keeps the paint suspended in liquid form. This solvent is often a volatile organic compound (VOC), which can negatively impact air quality. By contrast, powder-coat paint systems use a solvent-free paint, which is charged electrostatically, sprayed onto metal parts and baked. Excess powder is reclaimed by a sophisticated ventilation system and reused, so almost no paint is wasted. Crown eliminates more than 250,000 pounds of liquid paint waste each year by using a powder-coat system for the majority of its painting. The powder-coat method is not only greener than wet-spray painting, but also smarter. The system offers a more even, accurate paint application and provides a more durable finish.
Another initiative that distinguishes Crown from other applicants is the company's energy management program. Each year, computer-controlled heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at several Crown manufacturing plants conserve enough electricity to power 110 U.S. households for a year, and enough natural gas to fuel 520 houses.
In addition to managing the energy required to manufacture its products, Crown is currently researching ways to reduce the amount of energy consumed by its forklifts once they are in use at a customer's facility. As part of its commitment to exploring alternative energy sources, the company is now studying the implications of using fuel cell power packs instead of batteries as the power source on Crown lift trucks. The study is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program.
The solid design and sturdy construction of Crown's forklifts mean they stay in a customer's facility - and out of the scrap yard - longer. Crown further extends the lifespan of its forklifts by remanufacturing pre-owned trucks through the EncoreTM Series, and remanufacturing truck components with the reNEWed program.
Even the buildings Crown uses to manufacture its trucks are green - thanks to the company's extensive redevelopment efforts. Since 1998, Crown has added more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing space without constructing new facilities. By completing renovations and environmental remediation on existing properties instead of building new structures, Crown conserves land and natural resources, and prevents abandoned facilities from becoming eyesores.
This is the second time the Ohio EPA has recognized Crown's sustainability activities. In 1992, Crown received the Ohio Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pollution Prevention. The company also garnered recognition from the federal EPA in 2004 and 2006 as part of the EPA Waste Minimization Partner program and the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities, respectively.
About the Ohio Governor's Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Stewardship
Since 1986, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has coordinated the Annual Governor's Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Pollution Prevention to honor companies and organizations that are committed to environmental compliance and demonstrate outstanding achievements in reducing pollution. In 2008, the program was renamed the Annual Governor's Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Stewardship to reflect its broadened scope. Written application materials are evaluated based on 15 criteria, and those organizations with the highest scores are subject to a site visit by the Ohio EPA's Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention. Information collected during the site visit is used to help select the final award winners.