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The Clean Air Partnership is a registered charity, founded in 2000. Our mission is to work with partners to achieve clean air, facilitate the exchange of ideas, advance change and promote and coordinate implementation of actions that improve local air quality.

My Sustainable Day-Cation in Pickering: Day 5 of 5

One of the most inspiring things for me to see as I travel around and learn about all the great innovations and sustainable actions taking place in the GTHA is the role that can be played by businesses.  There is a growing case to be made that sustainability and reducing one’s impact on the natural environment is not only environmentally responsible, but makes good economic sense as well.  Here on this blog, I hope to highlight actions that municipalities take to make their communities better places to live, to reduce energy costs and to save residents money, but that is not the only story to tell.  Businesses in the GTHA are increasingly displaying fantastic leadership on the sustainability front, and it speaks to the fantastic work that is being done by municipal governments when environmentally and socially responsible companies choose to make their homes in our region.

Hubbell Canada is an excellent example of a company leading the way when it comes to sustainability, and seeing their bottom line improve because of it.  A global manufacturer of lighting and electrical systems, Hubbell certainly has their fingers firmly on the pulse of new sustainability innovations.  Offering their customers a wide range of energy-efficient fixtures, Hubbell’s Pickering Operations are an excellent proving ground for some of their technologies.

Admittedly, it’s not very often that you would find yourself heading to an office building /warehouse if you’re on a vacation, but this is my Day-Cation, and I’m a sustainability nerd, so there’s no place I’d rather be than in Hubbell’s facility, even on this beautiful sunny afternoon.  When I walk into the Hubbell facility, I’m greeted by a friendly receptionist who sits in an area that is well-lit by natural light filtering in through the facility’s many windows.  My guide Brad takes me through the facility, showing me all of the innovations, large and small, that are helping Hubbell green their operations and improve their bottom line.

Natural Light is an important element to reducing energy use at Hubbell

Key to Hubbell’s innovations, unsurprisingly, are upgrades to their lighting and electrical systems.  Occupancy sensors can be found all throughout the facility, ensuring that the lights aren’t on when nobody’s home.

This little device, a motion sensor, makes big differences in the energy costs at Hubbell.

In the warehouse area, the occupancy sensors are attached to high efficiency T5 fluorescent fixtures.  The lights go on whenever motion is detected in an aisle, and turn off after only 4 minutes.  These lighting fixtures reduce energy consumption by 30,000 kWh per month, and paid for themselves in only 18 months of operation.

The warehouse at Hubbell, lit by High-Efficiency T5 florescent bulbs equipped with motion sensors.

The unoccupied area of the warehouse at the far left is dark, thanks to motion sensors.

But Hubbell’s work doesn’t stop at lighting.  As I find out, sustainability is embedded in every aspect of business in this facility.  In late 2010, the facility introduced a new waste diversion strategy, separating and recycling cardboard, plastic shrink wrap, metal, glass, even plastic straps.  At last measure, in late 2011, the facility was diverting 87% of its waste from landfill, and much of what is diverted is sold to recycling companies, turning waste into profits.

Waste materials are separated and recycled, saving the company money while diverting materials from landfills.

The Pickering Facility also recently replaced their 75hp Air Compressor with a more efficient 10hp unit, sending the 75hp unit to their Montreal Facility, where a larger compressor makes more sense.  It all just fits in with the company’s goals of reducing energy use, reducing waste and improving their bottom line.

To reduce energy use, the Pickering facility exchanged their 75hp Air Compressor Unit for this new 10hp unit. The old unit was sent to their Montreal facility, where a larger compressor was necessary.

And if that wasn’t enough, Hubbell also has a program designed to encourage their employees to include sustainability in their home lives as well, offering monthly prizes of $200 and a 100% post-consumer material polo shirt for 5 employees who demonstrate sustainability at home.

Hubbell continues to realize the economic benefit of reducing energy use and waste production, and they offer solutions to customers who want to do the same.  By putting their products to work saving energy and money in their own facilities, they provide a very compelling argument to replace those old lighting fixtures, install some motion sensors and realize some very impressive energy reductions.

Phew.  That was a long one, eh?  And believe it or not, this post doesn’t even cover all of the innovations and actions going on at Hubbell.  It was so inspirational being in that facility and seeing how Hubbell is starting to shift their business model to one that focuses on sustainability and profitability.  It was a perfect place to end my Day-Cation in Pickering, and I got on the Go Train heading back towards Toronto with an even greater sense of optimism in the innovative potential of the region that I call home.

Until next week;


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  1. My Sustainable Day-Cation in Burlington Day 2: Green Buildings | Clean Air Partnership - April 17, 2012

    […] as I’ve pointed out before, it’s not just municipalities getting in on the Green Building trend.  As the City focused […]

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