Chamber of Commerce Director of Existing Industry Programs Lisa Pickel presented the “White Glove Award” to United Knitting.
She explained the award is given to an individual, civic or nonprofit organization, school club, business or industry that “exemplifies excellence” in its effort to protect the environment.
United Knitting was established in 1984 as a manufacturer of performance stretch fabrics. The company has since risen to become a world leader in its field. Garments produced by United Knitting are used by such companies as Under Armour and North Face.
Pickel said the plant has increased five times its original footprint.
“United Knitting’s commitment to the environment is well deserving of the White Glove Award,” Pickel said. “In 2013, United Knitting replaced all of their lighting in the facility to make a more energy efficient system.”
The company recycles 92 percent of all waste. An additional 99 percent of the fabric waste is also recycled.
Pickel added, “This could not be accomplished without the support of all their employees in the plant.
United Knitting Vice President Margaret Schenck accepted the award.
“I would like to thank TVA and Cleveland Utilities for encouraging us to replace our lighting with a great program that made it possible for us to save energy now,” Schenck said. “And I would also like to recognize Steve Roberson and Bill Harrington, who headed up that conversion and kept us on track.”
Guest speaker Director of City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff said he started off his educational career as a biology and environmental science teacher.
“What we talk about at Keep America Beautiful and all of the Earth Day celebrations is very close to my heart,” Ringstaff said. “I don’t get to talk about those topics as much anymore, because I have sort of shifted gears and went through the administration ranks.”
Instead of presenting the city school system’s energy management and recycling program, he invited energy education specialist Paul Ramsey to the front.
He explained the Cleveland Board of Education decided five years ago the school system needed to be a better steward of the taxpayer’s money by way of energy management.
According to Ramsey, comfort is still the number one priority. Although, he said, what makes one person comfortable may not make it for another person. The temperature tends to rest around 72 degrees through the cold and hot months.
“This is a behavior-based effort,” Ramsey said. “Our custodians, our teachers and our administrators all play a part in the program. It is not just me. It is not just what I do. It is what we do as a team.”
According to statistics provided by Ramsey, the school system has saved $1,322,560.58 through energy-efficient practices since 2008. The total cost avoidance of the system currently rests at 3.72 percent.
Over the course of the 2008-09 school year, the system used 13,203,726 kilowatt hours and paid $1,226,799. Four years later, the number of kilowatt hours has been reduced to 8,705,298. The cost for the 2012-13 school year was several hundred thousand dollars less at $935,759.
Cleveland Middle School, Mayfield Elementary, Arnold Elementary and Cleveland High School reportedly cost less to heat and air condition. Ramsey said the lower numbers are a product of the geothermal HVAC systems used at each of the four schools.
He said the energy conservation impact is equivalent to:
- A total of 2,711 passenger cars not used for one year.
- A total of 386,326 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
Individuals and companies interested in mapping their own energy management program can do so through Greenquest Energy.
Ringstaff said a common question is where the saved money is placed.
“That is absorbed. That is never really real money. It is just cut back in different line item amounts. It is not like we get a check back for the money not used,” Ringstaff said. “It is the same as when you cut back your energy bill.”
Continued Ringstaff, “But it does keep our budgets from having to pick up that money.”
KAB dates to remember:
- Spring Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day at Tri-State Exhibition Center Saturday, March 22, from 8 am. to 1 p.m.
- It’s all about the Green at Cleveland State Community College April 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- The annual Mouse Creek and Greenway Cleanup at Home Depot/Mohawk Drive N.W. Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.