Sustainable Ideas Focus At Conference

June 23, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Brad Davis, CEO of Industrial Woodworking Corp. in Zeeland, will be leading discussions on sustainable product design and manufacturing processes at a GVSU conference Tuesday and Wednesday entitled "Embracing a Green Future: A Conference for Manufacturers."

The Right Place/Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC-West) is sponsoring the conference at the GVSU Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids to provide manufacturers with practical information on ways to achieve sustainability goals.

According to The Right Place, sustainable business strategies have proven to increase manufacturing competitiveness by helping reduce costs, while increasing efficiency and market share. OEMs are looking for increasing evidence of sustainability in their products and supply chains.

The conference will touch on success stories, such as the 10 percent reduction in operating costs at H&L Advantage; a 16 million gallon reduction in water use, saving more than $30,000 a year, at Metalworks; and a 35 percent reduction in metal scrap at Whirlpool Corp.

Industrial Woodworking was founded in 1995 and builds furniture under contract for the major business and institutional furniture companies. Last year the company launched its own "eco-friendly" furniture line called Knu, and also announced that it had offset its carbon emissions with Carbonfund.org, the country's leading carbon reduction and offset organization.

Just a few examples of its sustainable strategies are its use of F-Bay fluorescent lighting, and use of infra-red heaters in winter that use less fuel than conventional forced-air heat.

Keynote speakers at the conference will include Brian Walker of Herman Miller Inc., Dan Radomski of NextEnergy, and Fred Keller of Cascade Engineering.

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