Environment lessons

08:42, June 21, 2010      

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On the first day at his new company, Eric Lin noticed that all the windows were covered with thick curtains. His colleagues said in winter they would be opened to make best use of the sun's warming rays while in summer they would be drawn to block sunlight and save on air-conditioning costs. As a result, throughout the year offices could be maintained at a consistently comfortable temperature.

Part of his job involves Lin in teleconferences with colleagues in the United States and Asia-Pacific countries as a way of cutting travel and energy costs.

The new employee also discovered his company placed reusable mugs in meeting rooms in which to serve visitors with Chinese tea. Colleagues told him that most of the wooden structures in the building, including doors, floors, and tables, were made from relatively inexpensive bamboo.

Lin's employer is the world's largest measurement equipment provider: Agilent Technologies Inc.

According to its corporate relations vice-president Cynthia Johnson, the company is taking various measures to reduce emissions and decrease its carbon footprint. The infrastructure and facilities in the offices reflect that commitment.

"We continue to invest in setting up solar power and rain water harvesting systems on our campuses, recycling waste generated by our facilities and eliminating the use of hazardous substances in our products," she said.

Agilent's headquarters at the Santa Clara campus, California, is now home to the company's third solar power system. With 3,600 solar panels, the 1 megawatt installation delivers up to 30 percent of the site's energy requirement during peak sunny hours.

In addition to energy-saving and biologically-friendly buildings, goats and sheep and other animals roam the campus, keeping the grass down in a cost-efficient and "green" way.

That is only one aspect of Agilent't green strategy. The company said it has been and will continue to minimize the environmental impact of its products and operations.

"Green is not a buzz word at Agilent. It is a distinctive way of working; a year-round commitment to create a sustainable tomorrow. Managers and employees apply concerted efforts to cut energy consumption and shrink our carbon footprint by consuming fewer fossil fuels," said Johnson.

From an environmental perspective, Agilent's researchers and engineers are focused on designing sustainable, highly-reliable products to maximize their working lives. Customers can benefit from product upgrades and trade-in and trade-up programs. The reuse programs are offered for selected Agilent products, addressing requirements from the European Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE), according to the vice-president.

These waste- and water-management programs are globally integrated and actively carried out at every Agilent operation and manufacturing site. Between 2008 and 2009, the amount of waste generated worldwide by Agilent dropped nearly 15 percent year-on-year.

The company has not only reduced its waste-generation footprint, but also decreased its waste-disposal footprint by recycling more than two-thirds of its waste in 2009. The water management program alone led to a fall in use of 23.8 percent last year compared with 2008.

Johnson said that Agilent had a mission to advance science education, especially in environmental protection, around the world. At pre-university level the company funds strategic initiatives to improve student learning and engagement, and acts as a catalyst to improve scientific inquiry and teaching.

In China, it is helping encourage attention to the local and global environment through sponsorship of the Clean Air Challenge (CAC). CAC is a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization from the United States, focusing on clean air eaducation.

Agilent began sponsoring the CAC workshop series in the United States in 2003 and introduced it to China in 2005. The program provides a curriculum for teachers and students that raises awareness of air pollution by focusing on topics such as smog, alternative fuel options and ground-level ozone.

In China, the company provides environmental-protection training, education resources and an international communications platform to high school science teachers. To hold the event, Agilent partnered with organizations including the Shanghai Youth Centre of Science and Technologies Education, the Society of Automotive Engineers of China and the Chemistry Department of East China Normal University.

Source: China Daily

(Editor:黄硕)

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