Climate & Carbon Continuous Improvements
Sherwin-Williams remains committed to continuous improvement throughout all of our businesses. Year after year, we challenge ourselves to optimize processes that reduce power usage and waste generation and disposal.
We are committed to identifying opportunities to utilize renewable energy to lower our reliance on fossil fuels. Our goal is to increase electricity from renewable sources to 50% of total electricity usage by 2030. Our strategies for reaching this goal include pursuing on-site renewable energy generation projects at select Company locations, Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
In 2021, we began work on an on-site solar project at our Orlando, Florida, plant, which builds on the success we have had using solar energy at our plants in Dresden, Germany, and Minerbio, Italy and Debica, Poland. We are also taking steps to procure VPPAs in the U.S. While we are still assessing our renewable energy options and the potential for VPPAs in other markets, we believe these initiatives will support the mitigation of our carbon footprint in the long term.
Solar Energy Program Supports Carbon-Neutral Expansion of Orlando Plant
As part of our Environmental Footprint goal to increase our electricity from renewable sources to 50% of our total electricity usage by 2030, Sherwin-Williams utilizes solar panels to help offset additional electrical consumption needs. We chose our Orlando, Florida, facility to serve as the initial U.S. location for this pilot program. Having completed a plant expansion in 2021, the Orlando facility serves as an ideal candidate for a renewable energy installation.
“This project holds a lot of potential,” said Chad Snodgrass, Sherwin-Williams Senior Process Engineer. “Not only does it show a commitment to continuous improvement at the site, but it utilizes one of Florida’s greatest resources – the sun – to create a positive impact on the environment.” During the year, Snodgrass and his team worked on the engineering design process for the solar panel initiative. The critical engineering design for this project ensures safety is built into every part of the process. For example, the team designed the panel racking to withstand winds up to 165 miles per hour. Since the Orlando facility expansion and the new equipment installation, the site has consumed 1.6 million gigawatt-hours in added electrical consumption. Solar panel installation began in March 2023, and once the project is complete and functioning in summer 2023, the panels alone will provide nearly 1.73 million megawatt-hours annually in consumable energy – making the expansion a potential carbon-neutral venture.
“This project is just one example of the proactive measures Sherwin-Williams takes to address important environmental matters,” Snodgrass concluded. “We are investing in our future by reducing our carbon footprint and committing to design programs that move us closer to reaching our goals.”
Smart Thermostats Drive Energy Efficiency Improvements At Our Stores
Efforts to reduce our energy footprint include our continued investment in smart thermostats for stores across Paint Stores Group (PSG). Since 2019, PSG has prioritized replacing traditional thermostats with more efficient and modern alternatives. Smart thermostats can be centrally monitored and controlled based on a store’s operational hours to maximize energy savings. The installation of these units typically results in a 15% reduction in energy consumption per store.
We continue to evaluate our stores to look for additional ways to bolster energy efficiency.
Our Fleet Improvements: Going the Extra Mile
We continue to invest in innovative fleet technology to address our environmental footprint.
Electric Vehicle Fleet Test
After introducing electric vehicles (EV) into our fleet in 2020, we have built practical knowledge on how EV technology can drive further results for the Company. Specifically, we have prioritized building out our EV infrastructure to better integrate these vehicles into our fleet. We continue to invest in charging stations at select Sherwin-Williams stores, and our drivers are adjusting to managing battery range so we can continue delivering to our customers reliably.
In order to monitor ongoing developments in EV technology, we maintain a presence on advisory boards and engage with leading manufacturers. “People rely on us and ask for our feedback on our electric vehicle test,” said Joseph Lukacs, Sherwin-Williams Global Fleet Director, Operations. “They are using our footprint as a model for their own initiatives.”
In addition to our investments in EVs, we continue to pursue fuel efficiency improvements in our traditional fleet vehicles. While our vehicle replacement cycles have been interrupted recently by worldwide new-car supply-chain challenges, we are working to navigate these market conditions. “We aim to be at the forefront of technology with respect to new endeavors of all kinds,” said Lukacs. “We’re more than a coatings company; we’re business innovators.”
As a transport partner, Sherwin-Williams participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay program as a shipper/carrier. The program helps to measure, benchmark and improve logistics operations in an effort to assist in the reduction of our environmental footprint. The Company continues to be recognized by EPA, and we were named a SmartWay High Performer in 2022.
These stories are featured in the Sherwin-Williams 2022 Sustainability Report.