Manufacturing the sustainable way (Part 2)
In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about Boral Industries’ commitment to sustainability through its products and the plants in which they are produced. In my next two posts, I am going to take a more in-depth look at two of Boral’s brick manufacturing facilities in Terre Haute, Indiana and Union City, Oklahoma. These plants have not only exceeded government standards for operational efficiency, but show Boral’s innovativeness in manufacturing in the United States.
Union City, Oklahoma
Union City is one of the most energy efficient plants in the United States and one of the newest brick plants owned by Boral, which operates several throughout the nation. Comprised of three buildings, the 165,000-square-foot state-of-the-art plant has the capacity to produce approximately 100 million king-sized bricks annually. The $35 million plant, built in 2006, currently employs around 50 people and serves customers throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
As one of the most energy efficient plants in the United States, the Union City plant has partnered with a nearby landfill to utilize methane gas for its energy needs. As I mentioned in my last post , this is the second brick plant owned by Boral Bricks to tap into this relatively new energy source; the other is located in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Union City facility is a zero waste plant where nearly all materials used in the brick-making process are recycled in new batches. Premium efficiency motors, sensors, and timers for minimal light usage also contribute to high levels of sustainability. Roughly 158,348 tons of clay will move throughout the plant per year.
In addition to sustainability features, the Union City plant also ranks “star” VPP status by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) recognizes exemplary excellence in safety and health programs. Boral’s Union City plant is the only facility in the brick and structural clay tile industry to attain this prestigious designation.
“The greatest benefit to Boral, and specifically the team at Union City, is having our efforts recognized, and taking pride in saying that we have the first and only brick manufacturing plant in the nation to attain VPP star status,” said Union City Plant Manager, Jon Pierce. “This also lets our customers, vendors, community leaders, and shareholders know that Boral Bricks Union City Plant is committed to providing a safe and healthful workplace which results in zero harm.”
The technological advancements employed at both the Terre Haute and Union City facilities are prime examples of how high performance can be realistically achieved.
My hope is that the energy saving and recycling measures that Boral implements will inspire and start to become standard for other manufacturers. It’s the responsible and necessary way to protect the environment and our future for generations to come.