The green light

John Park-Davies, Vertik-Al’s group marketing director, explains how the company’s investment in new technology and its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint is benefitting employees, customers and specifiers.

We all have a responsibility to minimise our environmental impact, not least as manufacturers and producers but also employers.

Our efforts, big and small, have an impact. As a powder coater, our role in the supply chain directly affects the eco footprint of the finished product.

We work with powder suppliers such as AkzoNobel, Syntha Pulvin, Axalta, IGP and Tiger, and generally use around 400 colours regularly.

To formally verify the environmental impact of its Interpon D1000, D2000 and D3000 coatings, AkzoNobel has employed the internationally recognised standard, Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

EPD is the most recognised ‘green’ standard in the architectural industry. It is also third party verified. AkzoNobel is the first global powder company to have an EPD.

The environmental data of the products is based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), in accordance with ISO 14025, and takes into account the upstream raw materials and the downstream usage. One kilogram of each coating is applied to the aluminium surface and life lengths of the products are estimated at 10, 15 and 20 years.

Our role in the EPD process is categorised under A5 – Construction and Installation (Pre-treatment and Application), and also contributes to a percentage of the End of Life data.

In terms of Global Warming Potential, under category A5, Interpon D1000 generates 11.07kg CO2-e (equivalent) and D2000 and D3000, 11.01kg CO2-e.

Such LCA EPDs are optional but with specifiers and customers wishing to choose reliable, more environmentally friendly products, it’s important that we acknowledge our environmental contribution.

As a business, we continue to invest in new technology to offset the environmental impact of our process and to reduce our carbon footprint.

Most recently, we have installed new LED lighting throughout our production, warehousing and office space – over 13,000m2 in total. Working with commercial and industrial lighting specialist, CEMA Lighting, we have invested in over 900 replacement lights.

A combination of linear batten, circular highbay and floodlights have been installed throughout the factory. All high output, the lights vary in beam angles with each achieving 120º for maximum light spread.

We have replaced all traditional ceiling tile fittings in our offices and corridors with LED high output halo panel lights. With a 50,000-hour life span, the lights are practically maintenance free. They are also around 50% more efficient than traditional office lights. The LEDs have helped tackle glare and bounce off from reflective surfaces, such as computer screens.

There is no doubt that the new lights will have a positive impact on our working environment, physical and mental wellbeing and quality control but there are also environmental benefits.

With the LEDs we have reduced our energy consumption by over 50% on traditional lighting. We have also cut our carbon emissions by almost 420kg.

Elsewhere, we have invested in a new powder coating plant, which has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of our process, including reducing powder consumption and wastage. The system achieves this by reducing powder accumulations in the booth due to non-conductive walls, while dynamic air extraction at the entrance and exit of the powder coating booth prevents powder escaping. Using less powder makes both economic and environmental sense, advantages which can be shared throughout the supply chain.