On Monday the Staples team hosted us at a fantastic energy event: An Eco-Treasure Hunt at their 1 million square foot Hagerstown, MD distribution center. The Eco-Treasure Hunt is a proven, effective model for discovering energy efficiency opportunities at an individual facility, while building much-needed employee engagement across energy and operational teams.
The Staples energy management team, which operates at the corporate level, spends about 2 and a half days onsite observing a facility’s full operations from startup to shut down with a cadre of experts, from HVAC to lighting, and listening to facility employees, to unlock opportunities for energy savings. Energy rallies are held for all employees on each shift. The Staples Energy Management team is focused on working alongside floor employees and the operations team to support their efficiency efforts.
An Eco-Treasure Hunt was conducted at this Hagerstown site three years ago, so energy efficient operational practices (such as shutting down conveyors and lights between shifts) were already in place. However, since the 2012 hunt, technology has advanced, making upgrades more feasible now than they were before, including exterior LED lighting for parking, and more efficient forklift chargers.
“Our passion for energy efficiency in our facilities has been a journey. We have facility managers, operators, and floor associates, working together. We encourage sharing our best practices with other companies who are coming on-board and excited to reduce usage through their very own Eco-Treasure Hunts,” said Bob Valair, of Staples.
Over the past several years Staples has installed over 14,000 solar panels on the site’s roof and on adjacent properties. These panels produce about 70 percent of the facility’s energy use in the summer. As a part of the treasure hunt, Staples invited a local solar partner to meet with employees and present options for installing solar on their own homes.
Staples shares the energy efficiency love outside of the company as well. Staples invited a team from their carpet supplier, Interface Carpet, to attend the Hagerstown treasure hunt. Now, they are working together and planning Interface Carpet’s first Eco-Treasure Hunt in Georgia in a few weeks.
For details on Staples’ Eco-Treasure Hunts program, read about it here.