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BlueScope factory has adopted various sustainability practices
The factory started operations in 2005, but it is still considered modern and is ready for the application of LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Management in the near future.
The factory has various sustainability practices, the first category in the LEED certificate. Storm water is collected and managed in trenches built around the factory. Measures including simple grass areas and roofing materials that rank high on the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI), considerably reduce the Heat Island Effect.
BlueScope’s factory is heavy industry and uses a considerable amount of energy. The factory’s management has put in great efforts to improve efficiency. The automated production process, which operates 24/7, contributes a lot to energy savings. The complex process is operated by just a dozen technical staff.
The factory’s management is also exploring other energy saving solutions. One impressive measure was the 5-year energy saving plan, which only a few factories do.
As per the plan, a number of improvements and renovations will be conducted over the five years.
Using just a small portion of the factory’s total energy consumption, the office attached to the factory was also built and is operated with great care. External louvers are installed around windows to reduce solar heat gain and glare, and T5 bulbs are used to save on lighting energy consumption. Another notable detail is the circle-shaped ducts on the ceiling, which are more efficient than the square-shaped ducts most often used in Vietnam.
Water is another of the factory’s major concerns. To this end management plans to conduct a water performance measurement by reviewing the whole water system including cooling water, piping, leakage, etc. Once this is done, meters are installed to supervise flow and record data to set standards for monitoring. Contractors that are selected to provide this service should place a limit on water use.
For water efficient landscaping, time and frequency of irrigation depends on the weather and seasons. The facility can even mitigate water use by using aggregate grass, rather than growing it.
Comprehensive environment care
Green building is not just energy and water savings, BlueScope’s factory looks after the environment in a number of ways. A centralised treatment plant in the compound handles all waste water, including industrial sources. Ground water is monitored to ensure non-contamination. A simple way to test this is growing fish. If they survive, the water is likely fine.
Waste management is also a priority, wasted steel scraps are collected and sold for recycling. All other waste is separated. Chemicals are carefully stored and overflow countermeasures are built in.
The BlueScope factory is a truly green facility despite not yet receiving its certificate. It will certainly have no issue achieving this thanks to its original design and continuous improvement.
By Do Huu Nhat Quang, co-founder cum Business Development Director of GreenViet, the Green Building Consultant