Lawrence Manufacturing Plant Makes Significant Changes to Support a Better Environment

Sekisui Voltek’s “Lights Out at Lunchtime” has widespread employee adoption
Lawrence, MA (September 3, 2008) –
In support of the world’s global warming issue, Sekisui Voltek’s Lawrence, Massachusetts plant is doing its part by implementing a creative, energy saving program whereby all but a few critical lighting systems are shut down during the lunch hour.

Sekisui Voltek LLC, a global leader in the development of high-performance cross-linked polyolefin foams, is participating as part of a larger, worldwide campaign launched by its parent, Sekisui Chemical Group on April 1, 2008. The campaign was based on ideas resulting from the first Sekisui Global Children’s Eco Summit held last summer.

To celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary, Sekisui hosted the Global Children’s Eco Summit. Twenty-three children of Sekisui Chemical Group employees, from nine countries, met at Narita Airport and embarked on a trip throughout Japan, experiencing the country’s landscape and comparing them to the children’s own countries in order to study the difference between diverse natural environments and life forms in different regions.

The children observed the lifestyle in traditional Japanese farm houses, educating them on how the Japanese culture addresses critical issues such as sustainability and recycling. As part of the participation in the ecological summit, each student presented their own version of “Spring Fling” — capturing their individual efforts they spearheaded in their own communities in the U.S. Students highlighted their community group’s efforts that were successful, and those that weren’t. They presented solutions currently in place to improve their community’s environmental issues and discussed future environmental possibilities.

“The most surprising thing to me was to learn that Japan is 75 percent forest,” said Eric Hemker, student and son of a Coldwater, Michigan plant employee. “I would have thought it was much less than that. I have a completely different view of that part of the world having had the opportunity to see it firsthand.”

Locally, the Lawrence plant has initiated a “green team” made up of employees who volunteer to participate in developing various green office initiatives. “Lights Out at Lunchtime” is the first of many programs the company plans to adopt. A cost benefit analysis is being tracked by one of the company’s engineers to determine the “lights out” cost savings over time.

The company is reviewing how they use their office printers and trying to cut waste disposal and scrap materials.

“I’m very interested in this issue,” said Laurel Burrill, Director of Human Resources, Sekisui Voltek LLC. “I posted a notice asking for employees who were interested to sign up for the green team. I immediately had a full group of people participating. I think this demonstrates the level of interest people have in pitching in to do what they can to make a better environment for all us of.”

The company is evaluating all aspects of their operations including lighting, increasing or reducing air conditioning and heat settings to save energy. They are also adopting energy-saving behaviors in their personal lives at home, such as car pooling and consolidating laundry cycles.