One hundred percent green energy: One 2020 Perfect Vision goal achieved—in 2010. And we’re awfully proud about it at Herman Miller. But so what?
“So what” is that we were able to accomplish this goal due to the cost saving suggestions of our very own employees, rather than spending additional money.
Good business and sustainable business are accepted as one and the same and it’s deeply ingrained here at Herman Miller. Couple this with an environment where good ideas—no matter where they come from—are valued, and you have a cauldron of innovative and eco-friendly solutions.
There have been many ideas over the years that have helped Herman Miller save money and reach our 100% green energy goal. And there have been those that didn’t originally seem like a good idea, but have proven their worth and changed some of our own minds.
One example is the use of winding heaters on the big dust collector motors in our manufacturing facilities. (A winding heater uses the motor’s own internal wiring to keep it warm and avoid stress, which can occur by frequent stopping and starting during cold temperatures.) Roger Bosch, one of our master electricians, suggested using the winding heaters to help regulate the motors in the dust collectors. He figured Herman Miller could save operating expenses by having the option to turn off the motors when they weren’t in use. At first, some people were skeptical, but after closer evaluation the project was indeed a money saver. Energy manager Jerry Akers said the payback saved Herman Miller a “bucket load.” Overall, it’s estimated that the winding heaters will eventually help us save more than $52,000/year, nearly 700,000 kWh, and around 500 tons of carbon.
Not bad for a little people power, trust, and a penchant for sustainability.