Smith’s Path to Sustainability

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At Smith, we have our roots in quality, speed, and service. But as we’ve grown over the years, so have our priorities and awareness. That’s why seeking to become climate neutral and a zero waste enterprise has grown into one of our core practices. For Smith, these practices begin at home.

Here’s a look at our progress along the way, and our goals for the future. 

Click on a year below to navigate the timeline.

1980

Smith's current headquarters are built. At two stories and 59,620 square feet, the building occupies 140-180 employees. The space is created with concrete-tilt wall and steel construction and is 100% air conditioned.

1997

The first changes are made to headquarters when the building undergoes remodeling.

2001

Smith begins utilizing "shred bins" for papers, rather than trash bins. Everything disposed of in these bins is recycled after shredding.

2008

  • February 2008:
    • The results of an ISO 14001:2004 audit reveal deficiencies in Smith's environmental program. This acts as the catalyst for an inspired green overhaul.
  • March 2008:
    • Smith replaces all incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
    • Smith gradually replaces all T-12 ballasts and bulbs to more energy-efficient T-8 ballasts and bulbs.
    • Smith initiates after-hours "lights-out" program.
  • Smith partners with a sustainability-focused packaging manufacturer and begins to use only 100% recycled packaging for its shipments.

2009-2010

Smith takes intermediate steps to improve conservation efforts. The company designates an Environmental Management Manager, revamps its ISO 14001:2004 program, and turns its focus to reducing energy consumption.

  • 2009:
    • April 2009:
      • Smith begins purchasing Energy Star rated appliances.
      • Smith installs motion sensor light switches in conference rooms.
  • 2010:
    • September 2010: Smith contracts a third-party organization to conduct an energy audit of Smith's corporate facility. This evaluation reveals several options for more expansive and sweeping improvements to build upon the conservation steps already taken.
    • October 2010: Planning begins on several projects.

2011

  • January 2011: Smith sets environmental sustainability goals for the year ahead. "Smith hopes to increase employee engagement by 50 percent, reduce energy use by 10 percent, and reduce waste diversion by 30 percent," says Environmental Director Art Figueroa.
  • March 2011: Smith removes its existing compressed gas HVAC system and replaces it with air-cooled chiller towers, exterior water pumps, and chill water air handling units.
  • April 2011: Smith installs a software package that allows for control of all facets of the HVAC system (air flow, temperature, scheduling, etc.) to achieve the best performance and highest energy efficiency from the system.
  • June 2011:
    • Smith strips away its current asphalt roof and installs a new solar reflective TPO poly roof system.
    • Smith announces the formation of an employee-directed environmental conservation and sustainability group, SSG (Smith Sustainability Group). SSG takes a grassroots approach to increasing employees' environmental awareness and involvement.
  • July 2011:
    • Smith increases its focus on securing partnerships that further mutual sustainability goals. "Sustainability is one of our core beliefs, and we will pursue strategic partnerships that encourage environmental responsibility," says Chief Operating Officer Matthew Hartzell.
    • Smith replaces all exterior light fixtures and poles and installs a combination of LED lighting and more efficient pulse start metal halide fixtures surrounding the building, on the roof, at the  front and back entrances, at ground level, and at the dock. A combination of photo cells and an automatic on/off timer controls these lights.
    • Smith begins installation of 140kW – DC of renewable energy power to the building, including a solar photovoltaic (PV) system that encompasses roof modules, parking structure bifacial modules, and solar thermal modules.
  • August 2011:
    • Smith builds an exterior spiral stairwell with an observation deck to view the rooftop solar array at the back of the facility.
    • Smith installs 5 PV powered inverters.
    • Smith installs 6 dual-sided, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations that will have the ability to charge 12 electric vehicles (EV).  The stations will have 12 dedicated 220V electrical lines and plug-ins for EV recharging.  The EV charging stations will be able to fully recharge most EV's in 4 hours.
    • Smith installs a solar thermal system that will produce 115 gallons of hot water per day at an average temperature of 140 degrees.  The water will be heated by three rooftop solar thermal collectors.
    • Smith installs monitoring software on solar equipment to track solar generation/power, provide historical reports, issue alerts, and ensure optimal performance.
    • Smith installs a visual monitoring device in the headquarters' lobby that records and tracks generation (power production) from the solar PV system.
    • As of August, Smith is involved with ISO 14001:2004, the City of Houston Green Office Challenge and is participating in the EPA's Portfolio Manager program, with the goal of becoming a certified Energy Star facility in 2012.
  • September 2011
    • Final electrical installation, system commissioning, and solar PV systems go online.


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