Improving the environmental footprint of our operations is a priority for Coats. Where possible we encourage our local teams to save energy or find other efficiencies which will reduce carbon emissions.
At Coats Shenzhen, in southern China, many of our employees stay in a dormitory on site. Until recently the heating of the hot water for the dormitory was generated using a combination of a diesel boiler and solar panels. The system was expensive and inefficient and limited hot water availability in the dormitory to certain hours a day. Relying heavily on diesel fuel, it also contributed a large amount to the site’s greenhouse gas emissions.
To find a better alternative, the Regional Manufacturing Director in Shenzhen assembled a multi-discipline team from the engineering, admin and purchasing departments. They came up with an innovative new system which takes waste water from the dyeing process, still hot from production, and pumps it through a heat exchanger. The exchanger then heats water which is transferred on to the dormitory. Whenever the dyehouse is in operation, usually 24 hours per day, there is heat and hot water available for the showers and laundry – not usual in most company dormitories. Note that to ensure there is no risk of our operators showering in contaminated water (if a heat exchanger got punctured) we have two independent sensors that check colour and conductivity. If there is any increase in either of these parameters, the system is shut down for checking.
The new method is not only more reliable, it also saves US$40,000 per year in diesel fuel. This amounts to annual savings of over 89,000 kilograms of carbon (CO2 equivalent). This is a great example of innovation that brings environmental improvement, cost savings, time efficiency and greater comfort for our people.
Here is the team that proposed and implemented the scheme, standing in front of the control panel
Picture of the dormitories, with the solar panels on the roof. (Not enough energy is generated by the solar panels alone.)