Secretary visits manufacturing facility after agency helps make energy improvements

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 12:00am

Earlier this week Secretary Donald van der Vaart visited Winston-Salem to tour Industries for the Blind, a manufacturing company that employs people who are blind or visually impaired. Industries for the Blind recently partnered with DEQ’s Waste Reduction Partners, who studied the company’s environmental impact and provided them with cost-saving strategies and resources to help them become more energy efficient.

Since these studies were conducted in 2011, Industries for the Blind has almost doubled the amount of waste they recycle. The IFB facilities in Winston-Salem and Asheville have recycled close to 3 million pounds of waste in the last five years.

Secretary Donald van der Vaart takes a look at a military garment that was manufactured at Industries for the Blind, which contracts with the U.S. government and the military.

Industries for the Blind’s energy consumption has decreased drastically. The company converted 100,000 square feet of warehouse from using 400W light fixtures to LED lighting, which will save them about $2,300 every quarter. There are plans to fully convert their facilities to LED lighting in the near future. The company also has changed from propane gas to natural gas at their plant in Winston-Salem, saving them over $32,000 in just five months. In addition, they have installed a more efficient boiler and made changes to reduce heating and cooling loss, among other improvements.

Industries for the Blind has been very pleased with the results of the changes that were suggested by Waste Reduction Partners. Not only do these changes help to protect the environment, they also save the company money. To learn more about Waste Reduction Partners, click here.