CITY introduces solar powered air conditioning
“Part of our strategic plan is to always look at new sustainability practices,” Colin Wetlaufer, CITY’s President said. “Whether that’s getting a more efficient truck style or alternative energy and fuel sources, it always has to be top of mind.”
At CITY, sustainability is measured by utility usage per pound processed of laundry. Those numbers are being constantly checked to make sure they are as close to neutral as possible. Over the course of a 25-year lifecycle, CITY’s solar panels are estimated to offset over 14 million pounds of CO2, the equivalent to removing 1,395 cars off the road.
“I think to really take sustainability seriously, you need to be looking at it all the time,” Colin said. “It’s got to be top of mind and you have to be talking about it and you’ve got to get employees engaged in what that means for them.”
CITY is currently putting in an air conditioning system to help its production staff on hot days inside the plant. It’s a spot cooling system for certain jobs with the facility. The energy for the air conditioning will come exclusively come from the solar panels on the plant’s roof.
“Being able to make decisions like that, that actually relate to employee satisfaction and helping people, that’s the stuff that’s really cool,” Colin said. “When you feel good about putting a system in, it’s nice to see a lower electric bill every month, but that’s a result, not the reason why we do it.”
For Melinda Fratzke, who has been with CITY for six years and frequently works on the hang line, the addition of a spot cooling system is important to keep employees at peak performance and make sure they can feel comfortable at work.
“I think we’re going to see a major increase in productivity,” Melinda said. “It’s going to benefit bringing more employees in and improve morale. They’re not going to be down and out from the heat, they’re going to be perky and ready to go and get things done.”
Many of Melinda’s colleagues on the hang line echo her feelings of being able to be more productive. Often employees can feel the effects of coming from a fully air-conditioned break room back into the hot plant environment. With the new air-conditioning system, they will be able to feel better, more aware and healthier.
“I’ll be able to not be so tired from the heat,” Paige Aswegan, who works on the hang line said. “It’s going to keep me cool, so I don’t overheat, and I am going to feel better at work.”
The hang line is an important part of CITY’s overall operation. If the hang line is not on time, anyone in the subsequent process is going to be behind. Because of the addition of a fully solar-powered air conditioning system for each employee working the hang line, CITY continues its commitment to being sustainable while assuring customers, CITY’s services remain top-notch despite the summer heat.
“I think it’s going to make us more productive and we’re going to be able to help our customers even more,” Taylor Joblinske, who also works the hang line said. “We will be able to work a lot faster.