Energy consumption around the world continues to rise. In fact, it’s expected to grow by nearly 50% by 2040. That’s why as far back as 2001, SC Johnson was working to add new sources into our renewable energy mix. To safeguard the planet, reduce our footprint, and keep costs down, we knew alternative sources of energy would be a valuable investment.
Now, more than 15 years later, we have 10 renewable energy initiatives around the world, employing the use of wind energy, solar, waste palm shells, rice husks, and even rubbish. Today, a third of our global energy use comes from renewable sources.
Wind energy is SC Johnson’s biggest renewable energy investment. As of 2017, three of our manufacturing sites run on 100% wind energy – those in Bay City, Michigan; Mijdrecht, Netherlands; and Gorzow, Poland. Two other sites, in the United States and Mexico, get a portion of their power from wind.
In 2009, we powered up our first company-owned wind turbine at Mijdrecht, which is home to our largest European manufacturing site, known as Europlant. The 80-meter tall turbine generates about half the energy needed to run the three million square foot-site, while the remaining energy is purchased wind power.
And, about that garbage. We weren’t kidding. At our largest global manufacturing facility, Waxdale, a co-generation system uses waste methane gas from a nearby public landfill to generate part of the facility’s electrical energy. A second co-generation system uses clean-burning natural gas. Together, the two supply about 85% of Waxdale’s energy needs.
The other energy source at Waxdale is a pair of that powered up in 2012. They now produce about 8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year – enough to power 700 homes – and supply the remaining 15% of Waxdale’s electricity
While the use of wind energy is a major focus of our renewable energy efforts, we use other technologies too.
In Medan, Indonesia, we use waste palm shells as a fuel source to heat water for mosquito coil production. This allows us to cut our diesel fuel use by 80%. Even more important, it takes what would be a local waste product and instead transfers it back into the value chain.
Similarly, in Surabaya, Indonesia, we launched a biofuel programme in 2012 using waste rice husks. Again, these are used as a fuel source for heating water used in mosquito coil production. These two biofuel initiatives in Indonesia cut more than 13,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually due to the fossil fuel use we avoid.
Also, solar projects in China, Indonesia and India help provide hot water heating for company operations, including aerosol production and quality control processes.
Our pursuit of renewable energy solutions is far from over, but we’re always grateful to receive recognition for the progress we’ve made so far. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has consistently named SC Johnson on its National Top 100 list of the largest green power users.
We have also ranked on the EPA’s Top 30 On-site Generation list – which represents standout performers within the Green Power Partnership. Most recently, we were honoured to receive a 2016 Excellence in Green Power Use award from the EPA.