With California experiencing an historic drought, water conservation is on everyone's mind. People throughout the state are doing their part to cut back on water use and companies like Shaklee are demonstrating that the business community can also lead the way in using less of this resource. Thanks to a number of simple and inexpensive improvements, the company has cut water use by nearly 50 percent in its Hacienda headquarters and by over 50 percent on its grounds. The company's efforts have earned the praise of Jeanne Clinton of the California Public Utilities Commission, who said, "Shaklee leadership is great and could be quite meaningful."
"Shaklee was an early proponent of sustainability, so naturally we wanted to do our part in the face of the drought," says Scott Miller, senior facilities manager. "That's all part of our philosophy of working in harmony with nature - that's what we do."
The company's efforts were also spurred by participation in a Sustainability Circle, a program conducted by a company called REV designed to help companies, municipalities, and other entities embed sustainable practices across their organizations. The program's outcome is a customized Sustainability Action Plan that addresses the frustration that many businesses face who feel the need to incorporate sustainability but are challenged by implementation and return on investment.
Shaklee's Willow Road headquarters is less than 20 years old and was designed with sustainability as a guiding principle, with myriad energy efficiency features, certified sustainable wood, recycled carpets and plastics, among other green features. The company's work was rewarded with the Savings by Design Energy Efficiency Integration Award from the American Institute of Architects. Still, Miller and his colleagues found ways to save water.
"Not only that, we're saving a lot of money, too," he says. "The no-brainer on this project that we just did is that we spent $17,000 on it. I'll save that much in six months, so it was really quick return on investment."
The company's actions included installing aerators on faucets to reduce water flow from 1.5 gallons per minute to .5, low-flow shower heads (a savings of 1.5 gallons per minute), and low-flow auto flushers that save 1.5 gallons per flush.
Domestic water use was also reduced by the installation of water softeners for the building's cooling towers, which use domestic water to cool the refrigerant. Hard water must be frequently dumped to prevent pitting and clogging of the pipe work, so installing water softeners significantly reduced the need to dump this water.
Through these efforts, the reduction in domestic water use has totaled 46.9 percent to date - a remarkable savings of over 1.7 million gallons in just 10 months.
For landscaping, the savings has been even more dramatic. Simply by reducing irrigation and switching to drip irrigation systems from pop-up sprinklers, the company has saved over 1.3 million gallons in 10 months, a reduction of 56.9 percent. What makes those figures even more remarkable is that the conversion to drip irrigation is still underway. "I've got 350 feet of drip irrigation going in right now in our courtyard," says Miller.
The emphasis on sustainability is nothing new for the company, adds Miller. "I look for something every year. We are a carbon-neutral company and we try to achieve that by different means - we're also doing LED lighting, parking lot lighting conversions, that kind of stuff."
For information on Shaklee visit www.Shaklee.com. For information on REV visit www.REVsustainability.com or contact Ann Spaulding, AnnS@REVsustainability.com.
Photo: Shaklee's Water Softner System, reduces water usage and waste.
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