Solar Power at Our Atlanta Plant
When Sean tells people his job title — Plant Environmental and Energy Coordinator — more often than not they just assume “I go out and hug trees at work,” he says. But the reality of what he does is far more complex.
As he explains it, “I ensure that we have a consistent supply of energy, and that we’re using it in the most efficient manner possible.” He also looks at where his plant can recycle, how it can reduce waste, and where it can re-use water. This is especially critical at the Atlanta plant where he works, because the climate makes it more prone to drought.
Sean is connected to plants all around the country, allowing him to share innovations his plant has implemented and access new ways other plants are conserving energy and resources. “Every time look at one of the other Purina plants, we bring whatever they’re doing right back here to try to learn from them.”
“The energy produced here goes directly
back into our operations. So when we’re
saying we’re being sustainable …
we’re practicing what we preach.”
Sean takes a measure of pride in making something that will land on shelves not too far from where it’s produced. “I’m pretty proud to walk into a local retail store and see our products. I live down in Noonan and tell people, ‘We made that right up the road.’”
From a sustainability standpoint, the closer we are to the retailer, the better, as fewer shipment miles results in reduced fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Sean also spearheaded a solar project that converted the sun’s energy – abundant in Atlanta – into consumable energy for the site. At almost 2000 panels, the solar array that now sits atop the plant is one of the largest in Georgia, although solar power remains a small but growing part of our energy mix. Sean likes to point out that “unlike most companies where they put in solar and sell it back to the power company, the energy produced here goes directly back into our operations. So when we’re saying we’re being sustainable … we’re practicing what we preach."
Sean and his team are just a few dedicated employees helping Purina conserve and preserve energy. Together, their leadership is helping to improve our environmental impact on the earth.