Schneider Electric helps Sun Chemical utilise solar to drive energy savings
Schneider Electric has announced the signing of a solar power purchase agreement (PPA) that will allow Sun Chemical to cut electricity costs at its Carlstadt, N.J., production facility by roughly $400,000, building on a partnership that has helped the world’s leading producer of inks, pigments and pressroom materials trim millions in energy expenses.
Rooftop and carport photovoltaic (PV) arrays at the site will generate more than 30 percent of the energy needed to power the facility. Under the 20-year PPA, which Schneider Electric helped structure and broker, solar developer Onyx Renewables will design, install, own and operate the arrays, selling the electricity the technology produces to Sun Chemical at a cost below current utility rates.
“At Sun Chemical, we’ve challenged ourselves to look for ways we can improve our processes at individual sites by monitoring key metrics to understand and manage our environmental impact,” said Gary Andrzejewski, Corporate Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Sun Chemical.
“Our decision to build PV arrays at our Carlstadt facility is the latest example of how our own facility managers have been challenging themselves with regard to eco-efficiency,” Andrzejewski said. “We’re excited about working with Schneider Electric on this project and we’re pleased with how they have helped us develop a progressive approach to energy management — one that makes us a more sustainable and profitable business.”
Sun Chemical’s sustainability policy requires a data-driven approach to identify targets for efficiency and environmental improvements. Using this model, Sun Chemical turned to Schneider Electric for options to cut consumption costs at its Carlstadt facility. Schneider Electric then completed a comprehensive bid analysis for an onsite PPA, helped negotiate the contract and assisted in securing credit support.
The end result is a solar installation that will produce around 1.1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough energy to power more than 90 homes.
“While utility bills continue to be one of the largest line items on any facility’s balance sheet, it’s critical that organizations consider every possible avenue to reduce energy consumption and offset demand,” said Steve Wilhite, Senior Vice President of Energy and Sustainability Services at Schneider Electric. “By looking at all aspects of energy — from how it’s purchased and used, to where it’s generated — we help clients identify new opportunities to optimize resources and continue driving innovation at every level of the organization.”
The project marks an expansion of a long-term collaboration dating back to 2004, in which Schneider Electric provides sustainability consulting and energy procurement services to more than 40 Sun Chemical sites across the U.S. and Canada. Through commodity risk management, market analysis, utility bill management and strategic energy sourcing, Schneider Electric has helped Sun Chemical save more than $12 million in energy costs over the course of the relationship.
Engineering at the Carlstadt site is underway, and construction is expected to be complete by fall 2017.
Read the January 2017 issue of Construction Global here
Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.