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Pollution prevention Example

The following are examples of successful pollution prevention activities:

Energy Efficiency

MidAmerica Energy Holdings, Inc.
Des Moines, IA
LED traffic lights in Davenport, IA

MidAmerica Energy Holdings Company (MEHC) believes responsible environmental management is good business, benefitting their customers and the quality in the environment. MEHC worked with the Davenport (Iowa) to change traffic signal lights from incandescent bulbs to light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

An LED light uses one-tenth the energy of a conventional incandescent lamp and lasts 8-12 years longer. By replacing the traffic signal lamp, the city should reduce its annual energy use by 2.1 million kilowatt hours, about $20,000. Less frequent need for lamp maintenance results in an annual maintenance savings of about $110,000. If all traffic signals in the United States were converted to LED lights, there would be an annual energy savings of 3 BILLION kilowatt hours.

The energy savings equates to an annual reduction of 3.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide; 11,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides and 6,900 pounds of sulfur dioxide.

Environmentally Preferable Products

Thurston Manufacturing
Thurston, NE

In 1996, Thurston Manufacturing decided to reduce its level of air pollution. At that time, fugitive emissions included almost 24,000 pounds of hazardous air pollutants and almost 57,000 pounds of volatile organic compounds. Company officials set an ambitious goal to reduce both sets of emissions by 50 percent in five years. They had an intermediate goal for 30 percent reduction the first two years.

Thurston’s workforce took a close look at their paint formulations and solvents. With changes they made, in the first 18 months they saw volatile emissions drop 38 percent and hazardous air pollutants decrease 50 percent. They continued their efforts and at the close of the five years, they had cut volatile emissions by 62 tons – a reduction of 52 percent. Likewise, they made good on their pledge to reduce hazardous air pollutants by 31 tons, a 59 percent reduction.


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