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EPA in Kansas

Valmont Industries Facility - 2019 P2 Awardee

El Dorado, Kansas

image of Valmont logoimage of Valmont P2 awardees 2019Brent Buckley, EHS Manager, Emily Jackson, Green Team Member, and Tim Murray, Plant Manager, accept a 2019 P2 Award from EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. (Click to enlarge)Valmont Industries is a steel pole manufacturing facility. Valmont established a sustainability improvement team in 2015, known as the Green Team. Monthly, the team reviewed past consumption data, talked with production associates, and brainstormed creative solutions. The team then set initial and stretch goals, calculated potential returns on investment, and implemented the improvements once funds were approved.

Projects implemented between 2016 and 2018 include:
  • Replaced 51 floor fans with seven high-volume, low-speed ceiling fans
  • Installed 18 indoor, light-emitting diode (LED) light fixtures and 20 outdoor LED light fixtures
  • Assisted the plant transition from a 7-day production schedule to a 4½-day schedule per week, while increasing product output
  • Implemented an end-of-shift shutdown checklist
  • Replaced a water downdraft plasma table with an air downdraft version
  • Improved fume hood collection
image of water downdraft plasma table on Valmont 2019 P2 awardee pageWater downdraft plasma tableCompany needs that were realized include:
  • Increased comfort levels in manufacturing areas of the shop, including air quality improvements and temperature
  • Improved plasma cutting quality
  • Reduced tripping hazards by eliminating extension cord use from the shop floor, resulting in fewer injuries and increased safety 
  • Minimized heat-related injuries and reduced complaints about smoky conditions
  • Aligned with company goals such as improving key performance indicators (KPIs) (recordable injury rate, burden rate, efficiency rate, scrap rate, etc.), which Valmont is held accountable for
Unintended benefits include:
  • Pollution prevention improvements increased shop efficiency from 40.1% in 2016 to 49.8% in 2018
  • Improved trust between production associates and the management team
  • Increased the willingness of associates to get involved with pollution prevention initiatives
image of air downdraft plasma table on Valmont 2019 P2 awardee pageReplaced with air downdraft plasma table2018 cost savings include:
  • Reduction of 234,576 kWh of electrical power, equaling $24,630
  • Reduction of 159,856 gallons of water, equaling $16,680
  • Hourly burden rate savings of $6/hour, equaling $429,744

The pollution prevention and sustainability projects implemented by the Green Team had a significant, positive effect on the culture of the plant while increasing efficiency. Leadership communicated the benefits of cost savings, achievements of KPIs, and reductions in consumption to all associates. In addition, associates have greater confidence in leadership’s ability to make improvements.

Other entities can learn from Valmont’s Green Team by preparing a return on investment in order to submit capital appropriations requests, improve scheduling of work activities, and upgrade to more efficient equipment.