BRADFORD, Vt. – As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability, case goods manufacturer Copeland Furniture has expanded its solar energy footprint at its plant here and has made other plant and equipment upgrades that boost energy conservation.
The company is expanding its solar panel array by adding 396 kwh of solar capacity on the roof of its second plant. In August 2016, it had already built a 626 kwh solar array on the factory grounds, which produces electricity equal to 64% of the manufacturer’s usage.
The expanded solar capacity the combined output of the two installations will exceed a megawatt and equal nearly 100% of the company’s electrical consumption.
The company said that currently about 65% of the factory’s heat is generated by wood wasted from its manufacturing operations. The rest is provided by fuel oil.
Copeland is now adding a second biomass boiler that is now under construction, which will result in more than 95% of the heat energy used by the plants provided by biomass generated on-site. The company said this is expected to displace more than 30,000 gallons of #2 fuel per year. It will limit the use of fuel oil to backup and holidays.
The company also is investing in energy conservation in the form of variable frequency drives (VFDs) on many large electric motors as well as LED lighting throughout the plans and other upgrades to the facility itself.
I’m Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.