Making it the 10th U.S. plant to receive such recognition, Boxley Materials' headquarters ready mixed operation in Roanoke became the first facility in Virginia to be awarded Green-Star certification from the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. The producer was applauded for an Environmental Management System (EMS) team that includes employees from all levels Û vice president to loader operator Û for maximum buy in and environmental goal attainment.
Launched in February 2008, the Green-Star program is a plant-specific certification that uses an EMS based on a model of continual improvement. The certification is modeled on EMS practices widely recognized throughout the industry and government for spelling out goals and targets. Boxley Materials staff is working to achieve Green-Star status at its seven other ready mixed plants by year's end. Boxley has an integrated EMS that maximizes identification of environmental aspects and impacts, along with the setting of environmental goals, notes Cemex's Denise Corrales, chairperson of the NRMCA Environmental Task Group.
As a construction materials supplier, Boxley has been serving markets in central and western Virginia and southeast West Virginia since 1892. Opened in 2003, the greenfield Boxley facility, located five miles from the center of Roanoke and 16 miles from the company's Blue Ridge plant, enlisted Timothy Mauzy, P.E., to be the Green-Star auditor and help implement various elements required for certification.
PLUGGING THE GAPS
The team started the process by creating an EMS, utilizing NRMCA's sample template, which included the identification of all Green-Star-required key environmental aspects/impacts and related best management practices (BMPs).
Boxley formed and chartered an environmental team featuring members of all lines of company businesses, including the ready mix concrete division. In September 2008, prior to the start of the first EMS cycle, an inspection was conducted by corporate Environmental, Health and Safety personnel and the plant manager to identify gaps in the EMS. The analysis covered 59 different inspection points in the areas of air- and water-quality management, returned concrete management, materials storage, site aesthetics, repair shops, and SPCC/GPP/stormwater prevention pollution plan. This analysis provides a baseline for evaluation to measure improvement.
Upon EMS cycle completion, the corporate Environmental, Health and Safety personnel, area manager, and plant manager met in February 2009 to review the previous cycle goals and progress toward their achievement based on the GAP inspection for the preceding EMS cycle. This gauged the plant's regulatory compliance and environmental status for the upcoming Green-Star EMS cycle.
Goal achievement results for the Roanoke plant's first Green-Star cycle include:
- Reduce solid waste, including recyclable materials, water, returned concrete, disposable cups, and printer ink cartridges;
- Reduce energy usage Û plant installed energy-efficient light bulbs and instilled a policy to turn off lights and computers when not in use;
- Reduce water consumption by using 100 percent recycled washout water for drum rinse and washout;
- Landscaping/aesthetic improvements Û additional trees were planted along site perimeter; and,
- Install an employee suggestion box for idea gathering.
A plant pollution prevention team was formed and incorporated into the site's Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWPP) and Spill Prevention Control Countermeasure (SPCC) plans. This team is responsible for comprehensive site self-evaluations on a quarterly basis to gauge the plant's regulatory compliance level and environmental operational status. These documented inspections are conducted in addition to the Green-Star GAP inspections performed at the start of new EMS cycles.
All plant employees receive annual refresher environmental training related to pollution prevention and the SWPP/SPCC plans. New hires receive this training during their orientation. Additionally, limited employees receive select training, such as permit administrative record-keeping requirements and process water treatment procedures, depending upon job requirements. Outside contractors also receive an environmental orientation prior to working on-site.
All employees are evaluated on their level of commitment to Boxley's EMS during their annual performance review. The company developed a training matrix for the Roanoke plant to ensure compliance and success. And, not surprisingly, many of the same goals pertaining to the NRMCA Green-Star program employed at the Roanoke plant are being implemented at other Boxley facilities along with site-specific goals. Boxley management is eager to implement the Green-Star process at all ready mixed locations.
To meet the recycled-water component required for Green-Star certification, Boxley Roanoke constructed multi-celled, concrete-lined, sedimentation sumps that capture all process water (i.e., rinse water, drum washout and vehicle wash water). These sumps allow any solids to settle and the process water to be reused. Pumping and piping systems were installed to allow this water to be reused in the mixer wash down/washout process and to be reintroduced into the batching process where possible. Concrete pads draining to these sumps have been installed to ensure all process water is collected for reuse. Make-up water is introduced as needed.
Although lower energy consumption was not a primary goal for the first Green-Star cycle, the new lighting and policy regarding lights and computers being turned off at the end of each day will certainly contribute to reduced operating costs. According to Boxley, future Green-Star goals may include additional steps to reduce energy consumption.
Initial reaction from customers and those in the industry who know about the certification is very positive. Boxley is planning a public announcement and Green-Star Certification ceremony in late May for local officials, neighbors, and media. Management anticipates positive feedback as the Roanoke community strongly supports green building initiatives.