Every action that safeguards and restores the environment is significant. By inspiring lasting, meaningful action we can all benefit from lasting, meaningful results.
Our Inspirations. Our Actions. Our Results.
Southern Imperial is committed to environmental stewardship. We are proactive in our procedures to decrease environmental impacts, reduce energy consumption and mitigate depletion of natural resources. We believe environmental,economic and social issues are interdependent such that what is good policy in one area, is good in all three areas.
To us, understanding the complexities of nature and how products are manufactured and delivered is important. As a fixture and display manufacturer, Southern Imperial embraces the "Three R's" philosophy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. By implementing Human Resource and Energy and Waste Management strategies, Southern Imperial strives to lessen the impact of its business operations upon the environment and the community.
How Our Stewardship Becomes a Catalyst For Change
Intelligent product design means incorporating environmental thinking from the very beginning of the process, not as an afterthought. Recyclables and reuse are both crucial to our stewardship program.
For example, the bulk of the components in our products, mainly steel and plastics are 100% recyclable. Southern Imperial has been recycling for many years and today we operate recycling programs in countries where most of our display hooks, wire and grid displays, sign holders, and accessories are manufactured.
Recycling Steel, Plastics and Corrugated Cardboard
Steel is a large part of Southern Imperial's primary natural material of its product line. Thousands of pounds of steel are recycled each year. These materials are segregated and compiled before shipment to local recycling centers.
The steel scrap market is mature and highly efficient. The recycling rate for steel scrap, which was defined by the Steel Recycling Institute as total scrap recovered versus total raw steel produced, has exceeded 50% every year since World War II and has been more than 60% for about two decades.
In the United States, a steady increasing population and a growing economy consumption will continue to create a demand for steel products, and the scrap used to make them will decrease the raw material consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions because of the lower energy needed to melt scrap than to melt ore.
Southern Imperial also receives a large amount of materials and supplies in corrugated cardboard containers, also called old corrugated cardboard (OCC). Due to high volume production rates, recycling and reusing OCC was a logical implementation. OCC has been used for storage and shipping and is available to employees for personal use.
Recycling corrugated helps decrease solid waste disposal in landfills. It also provides fiber that can be reused to make new corrugated, therefore using less new and raw material.
Enlightening the Workplace
An important extension of Southern Imperial's environmental commitment is our energy management and Human Resource actions in promoting "Green" in the workforce and at home.
In 2005, GE launched "ecomagination," a GE initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that help customers and consumers meet environmental challenges. Southern Imperial's 220 employees got involved. When asked to participate they follow through. Each employee was given commercial GE Energy Smart™ Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs to replace their traditional bulbs in their homes. Participants discovered that Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) use 70-75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last 8 to 10 times longer.
In 2007, Southern Imperial updated approximately 300,000 square feet of all of its shop floor lighting. The lighting was upgraded from Metal Halide to T8 Fluorescent bulb and ballast system. This lighting not only creates more light over a greater area, but the lights use less electricity than a standard incandescent bulb, last longer, and give off less heat, making them a cost-effective lighting alternative. In 2008 Southern Imperial energy estimated savings are set for 70 – 75%.
In addition to energy savings, the new fluorescent lights will have over 50% less hazardous waste for disposal. Whereas Southern Imperial will recycle and properly dispose of used bulbs and the savings will be in processing the removal of hazardous materials.
Innovation Requires You To Think Differently. Even When The Heat is On.
It takes two 1,500,000 BTU burner units to heat Southern Imperial's 360,000 square foot factory in Rockford, Illinois. In 2007, the burner control unit was upgraded to a variable burner. Prior to the upgrade, the system required staff to ignite both burners regardless of the heat that needed to be generated. The system was either all on or all off. Now, the variable control burner system allows more control over start up flow and allows one or both burners with variable control on the gas flow. In winter, Southern Imperial is only using one burner to heat 360,000 square feet—resulting in a 50% savings in gas. With this new burner system, Southern Imperial will not only save money on gas, but also reduce emissions by nearly 50%.
What inspires us isn't what we've done, but the potential of all we can still accomplish. Manufacturing processes that set new standards and the production of entirely sustainable products.
Southern Imperial installed high-efficiency air conditioning units with “Economizers”. Economizers rely upon extremely low energy consumption fans to push more fresh air into the offices, rather than starting up energy hungry compressors. The energy savings is estimated to be 20 – 30% each year.
Southern Imperial is already a leader in innovation and engineering, and we are applying these same talents to become an environmental leader. Through an ongoing commitment and attention to all aspects of environmental stewardship, production and renewal, ongoing research promises to develop even greater advances every day. Based on our tangible actions and results over time, hopefully our customers, employees, and professional colleagues will all feel proud of our efforts to becoming leading stewards of preserving the earth’s natural resources for future generations.