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Lehigh Hanson builds foundation on six pillars of sustainability

Image of Mike Latimer, Lehigh Hanson
Mike Latimer, Energy Manager at Lehigh Hanson, says a formal Strategic Energy management Plan helped create six pillars of sustainability with measurable targets for each pillar.

Strategic Energy Management Plan identifies energy efficiency opportunities

In 2010, Lehigh Hanson entered into a formal Strategic Energy Management Plan, or SEMP, with BC Hydro Power Smart. The strategy identifies energy efficiency improvement opportunities, funds studies and offers capital incentives to execute energy efficiency improvement projects.

The plan neatly dovetails with the ongoing commitment to energy efficiency established by Lehigh Hanson's parent company, HeidelbergCement.

"HeidelbergCement created sustainability ambitions in 2009 for its operations around the world," Lehigh Hanson's Energy Manager Mike Latimer says. "The foundation is based on six pillars of sustainability, with measurable targets for each area."

The pillars include health and safety, biodiversity, sustainable construction, waste reduction, climate protection, and environmental impact reduction.

Upgrades and process improvements save enough to power 600 homes a year

As part of the plan entered into with BC Hydro Power Smart, as well as its ongoing commitment to the goals set out by HeidelbergCement, Lehigh Hanson set out to curb energy consumption at its operations in British Columbia. The company has 35 operating locations in B.C., including a cement plant in Delta, several cement terminals, ready-mix concrete plants in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island and multiple aggregate sites and depots.

By participating in several key Power Smart Industrial program initiatives, Lehigh Hanson was able to upgrade equipment, including compressors and fan systems. Additionally, other no or low-cost process improvements have contributed to energy efficiency improvements.

As a result, Lehigh Hanson is on track to reaching its goal of a nine percent energy reduction. Electricity use has been reduced by 5.9 percent (66 percent of its target). Since the start of the program in 2010, the company has saved enough electricity to power about 600 homes for one year.

"BC Hydro is incenting companies to be more efficient and helps them get past their financial hurdles for capital intensive opportunities," Latimer says. "We're being rewarded for making lasting improvements."

Patience, persistence and understanding financial benefits are keys to success

For other companies who might be thinking of working with BC Hydro Power Smart, Latimer has some recommendations.

First, it's important that senior management understand the potential financial benefits of the program.

"If they do, they'll get on board fairly quickly," Latimer says. "That will be a major key to success."

The Energy Manager also suggests establishing a company-wide policy supporting energy efficiency throughout the business.

Furthermore, the program takes patience and persistence.

"Most companies will identify "Quick Wins" to establish program credibility, then a number of projects will be identified and finally a cultural shift towards continuous, sustainable energy reduction can be realized", Latimer says.

"It's a continuum — a journey. Have some fun and feel good about what you do along the way", is his last piece of advice.

Although many of the initiatives the company has taken through the BC Hydro Power Smart Industrial Program are recent, energy efficiency has long been an important part of Lehigh Hanson's overall long-term strategy, both as a business and a good corporate citizen.

Being part of a global organization in business for over 140 years doesn't just happen by chance. "We didn't just get on the sustainability bus because it's the catchy thing to do," Latimer says.